Before I dive in to my nominations lets go over the rules of the game!
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting. (see below)
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
Okay, here are my seven fun facts about myself:
1. I am totally addicted to The SIMS. It is one of my favorite computer games of all times. I have versions 1, 2, and 3. Though my computer needs to be fully upgraded so that I can really enjoy the newest release. Sometimes I use the characters from my favorite books as inspiration in my game.
2. I love the geek revolution that is taking place. Its suddenly cool to be a gamer, to know a little about technology,to be obsessed over a tv show that isn't star trek. I've enjoyed my ride.
3. Writing is all I have ever wanted to do. My dream is to be able to support myself with my writing full-time and to become one of those authors who writes books that readers savor for a special "lazy day". I just want folks to relax, laugh, and enjoy my novels.
4. I suffer from the oldest child complex. Though in my defense I might just be the only sane person in my family.
5. I may write gritty, passionate, cynical stuff but deep down I'm a total romantic. I believe in soul mates and true love. I'm still looking though so if you're out there...hem hem...any day now. lol.
6. If I could choose one fictional world to live in it would be Harry Potter. There is something beyond magical about the world that JK Rowling has created. It is so much more than spells or potions. She made that world come to life right off the page and it's completely addictive.
7. I absolutely hate revisions with a passion. I know that it is necessary, but it is like pulling teeth for me. I love getting crits and feedback, but actually making the edits, cutting scenes, adding scenes, rearranging scenes...it's a pain in the you know what. I think I am going to have to just set aside my vacation to do nothing but revisions and crank them out like boot camp. That way they are done and I can more on.
Last but not least:
Here are my nominations for cool Kreative Bloggers. They include fellow urban fantasy authors and some of my favorite book review sites.
Linda Robertson: http://www.wolfsbaneandabsinthe.blogspot.com/
Laura Bickle: http://www.salamanderstales.blogspot.com/
Donna a.k.a Fantasy Dreamer: http://fantasydreamersramblings.blogspot.com/
Reverie Book Reviews http://reveriemedia.blogspot.com/
The League of Reluctant Adults http://reluctantadults.blogspot.com
Preternatural Reviews http://preternaturalreviews.blogspot.com/
And just for fun, another random new moon spoof/video.
I had to be up bright and early for a session on Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, in which the panelists discussed the differences between the two sub-genres. It was relatively interesting but a lot of it was stuff I already knew of or read. No big revelations here. For some of you looking on great definitions or explanations of Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance here are some good articles/essays.
Notes on Urban Fantasy...http://juno-books.com/blog/?p=410
Angry Chicks in Leather...http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/2008/12/ad-lib-column-lilith-saintcrow.html
More Thoughts on Angry Chicks in Leather...http://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/2008/12/more-thoughts-on-angry-chicks-in-leather/
Then I went to one on strong female protagonists. This panel was a lot of fun, though unfortunately about 20 minutes through it moved to the topic of sex. I'm not sure why because in my opinion strong women does not automatically mean that they have to be sexually active/promiscuous. In fact, when talking about the genre of paranormal romance and urban fantasy in general it feels like some people like to use sex as part of their definition. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. My character has sex. I like to read about character's having sex. There's nothing like that moment in a book full of sexual tension (or in some cases a series) when the two characters finally give in, let go, and have at it. But still, it doesn't define the book or the character. The act or omission of sex certainly doesn't make a strong female protagonist. You can't say that the chicks who are tough don't get into the mushy stuff and have sex because that's just not true. Likewise there may be real strength in a very promiscuous female resisting sex. It all depends on the story and the character. If you stay true to that character you'll be good.
Anyway, if you are really interested in having good sex writing good sex...Stacia Kane did a whole series (Be a Sex Writing Strumpet) on her blog. http://stacia-kane.livejournal.com/tag/be+a+sex-writing+strumpet
I hit up the Bite me Panel with some of the heavy hitters writing vampire fiction right now (AKA Charlaine Harris, Sherilyn Kenyon, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro). How cool was it to listen to the three of them talk. One thing that continually impressed me was how respectful they were of other authors when answering questions, specifically about Stephanie Meyer and Twilight. I believe it was Chelsea who reiterated that for a woman to make it that far and be that successful in writing is huge. I agree. Writing in general is hard. Charlaine made an additional comment, that she had a target audience and she hit a bulls-eye. Good for her. It also helped to increase the sales of other PR/UF authors and get publishers/agents/buyers to look at vampires and urban fantasy that before they wouldn't even have considered it.
I attempted to go to a panel called life in the Dollhouse, but it was full so I'll just tell you what I love about the show. It's great. It's funny. I love the concept, it reminds me of Dark Angel, which is also a show I was a fan of many years ago. I don't get the science behind everything but the great thing about a show like this is you don't have to. The science isn't shoved down your throat. You can still understand the plot. You can still like the characters and question their motivations. Fabulous! Can't wait for season 2 which starts Friday September 25th. If you like Urban Fantasy, check it out. http://www.fox.com/dollhouse/
And least but not least I got to listen to the creative director/editor of Weird Tales. Stephen Segal is a pretty cool guy. Definitely has his you know what together. He took over Weird Tales a few years back. I knew that they were doing some major revamping, but since I stopped writing short stories, I haven't put much effort into following their progress. Apparently last month they won a Hugo for best semiprozine and that is a huge, huge, deal. Big upset considering Locus has dominated for years. They have a new fiction editor who was also nominated for a nebula I think, so it looks like the future is bright for them. Congrats! If you've never checked them out I encourage you to do so www.weirdtales.net. In the mean time here is a quick video to wet your appetite. All in all, it was a good day.
I'm tired, slightly hungover and wishing this stupid hotel had roomservice. Or should I say inn, because it really is an inn not a hotel. I guess because I travel so much for work now I am super spoiled. Oh well. Life goes on. I'll just have to use some of that super huge advance I'm going to get to pay for my lavish room next year.
Highlights for the day...
Got to meet Tom Felton, the guy who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films. Well, technically I didn't actually get to meet him. I got to be in the same room with him, about thirty yards away and listen to him talk. Fun, fun, fun. He kept saying that Rupert Grint (who plays Ron) was super funny, but Tom was pretty funny himself. He talked about the other actors, what he wants to do after HP. He said that he got a handwritten note from JK congratulating him on his performance of Draco in the last movie (which OMG was absolutely great if you haven't seen it yet, shame on you!) All in all, I have to admit, that I'm kind of crushing on him a little bit. Oh and yes his hair was still blond. Though he did say the moment he got rid of the color people didn't recognize him!
I also went to the twilight session and "met" the actors who play Carlisle and Eric. Sorry Twi-harts, they just weren't as interesting as Draco. They didn't have much to say...the questions fans were asking were pretty lame, although Tom has gone through a lot more movies and probably done events like this a billion times, he was just more interesting. I will say that DragonCon was Tom's first con ever and he was having a blast. He kept saying that he wanted to bring all his friends back because they would never believe the stuff he was seeing unless they saw it with their own eyes. True, true.
Last big panel I was on was a Southern Vampire panel called undead in Dixie. It was a lot of fun. Charlaine Harris was on it, so of course it was packed. I'm not sure why they had it in such a small room. Hello! But the moderator asked cool questions, kept it focused on the topic. Everyone seemed to have a good time.
That was my day. I spent a lot of time waiting around. Got lost a couple times. Did some writing in the hallway. Yep. The glamorous life of a no-name writer.
I feel like I should start this post with the ridonculous horrors that was our arrival into Atlanta for the DragonCon09 but to be honest, it is still a very painful and bitter memory. Perhaps once I am home and nothing else can go wrong as part of my DragonCon experience I will share. Instead I will start with today, the official day one.
First a pick of Linda Robertson author of Vicious Circle enjoying the cosplay!
Registration. OMG. I knew this con was big, but somehow that did not translate to me the potential nightmare of the logistics for things like registration. All and all, it was very smooth. I was so impressed that even though it was an hour wait, the line was moving steady and no one was complaining. I did hear that people who registered the night before (on Thursday) had a much longer wait for pre-reg but then again, they were also free to attend the earliest panels.
DragonCon TV: Too cool. I love it. If you are at one of the con hotels check it out. If you're not, you can check this out online and get the scoop on DragonCon first:http://dailydragon.dragoncon.org/
The Hotels: If you can manage I say room in one of the hosting hotels. It just makes things easier. I find the layout of the Hyatt, which is where the Dark Fantasy/Horror/Romance track and the writing track are, to be very confusing. Sometimes I forget which hotel I'm even in..and I will admit, that after seeing something is in the Sheraton I have decided not to go to that panel!
The interview with Charlaine Harris was AWESOME!!! I was totally geeking out. I love it when I find people who are in love with the series as I am. The couple next to me had read the books and watched True Blood and like me, they loved them both as is. Because so many people I know are not up to speed on Season 2 (b/c they don't have HBO) and because some people have only either read the books or watched the show, I never have anyone I can talk openly with in person. So this was fantastic. We got hints to the Season Finale which CH has a cameo in and teasers for season 3 including some fun new casting sessions happening right now! I'll try to do a post just on CH and TB.
Went to two urban fantasy panels, and was loving it! Meant some new authors including an Ohio native Leanna Renee Hieber who's debut novel "The strangely beautiful tale of Miss Percy Parker" which just came out last week. She's going to be in Columbus in a few weeks, so I will write more about her later as well.
I'm also super excited about some YA books that are coming out. You should know by now I am a huge fan of YA stuff and I think that for the SF genre, (SF including Sci-Fi and Fantasy) they are doing some amazing stuff in YA that I am not finding in Adult stuff. As a writer, I find the vulnerability, insecurity, and general naivete of YA characters an interesting change of pace. Some of my faves based on the convo...
*Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
*Demon's Lexicono by Sarah Resse Brennan
*Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
*Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
*Ash by Melinda Lo
* The Dead and the Gone, Live as we knew it and The world I live In all by Susan Beth Pfeffer
*Leviathan by Scott Westerfield
There were a couple of my all time faves on the list that I have already read:
*The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
*Wake By Lisa McMann (also wrote Fade and Gone)
*City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Okay that's all for now. My pics from the iphone aren't very good but I have my Nikon today so I will get more good stuff to post.
Oh well. Here's the article.
The only thing I have against this book is Morgan’s constant whining about her on again off again boyfriend. Personally I found Brian a little boring, I mean who needs Brian with Demons like Lugh, Adam, and Saul walking around? There is a scene where Lugh tells Morgan that she’s got to put in some work saving their relationship because Brian is always the one putting in all the effort. I disagree. Brian is a baby. He’s always throwing temper tantrums and to be honest, the sex hasn’t even been that great for me since book one. At this point it’s just safe comfort sex. I want gritty, passionate, forbidden sex!! LOL.
Okay maybe I’m a bit overdramatic here but I really don’t think so. There is no challenge in Brian and Morgan’s relationship. As a reader I like to experience the chase. I like to see the tension between the two characters dripping off the page. For Morgan and Lugh, it’s a given, because Morgan has always been so resistant. We are curious to see if and how Lugh will seduce her. But with Brian, it was like, come over, let have sex. Boring.
Don’t get me wrong! I absolutely love, love, love this book. I mean really, with a crazy plot like this, who has time for a sex life? Morgan is having enough trouble staying alive and out of jail. Good luck girlie.
Here is a quick poem that I wrote based off of a writing prompt and photo. I love getting inspiration from photography, asking myself what the story is behind the image. I liked this so much I had to share. In case you are wondering the photo is the same one as the cover of the book.
There is a chair in my mother’s house that makes me forget to breathe.
It stands in the corner
across from the window
overlooking the front porch
ankle high grass
small dirt path
fishing stoop where grandpa lost track
I lower myself into its waiting arms.
The worn leather chills my skin.
It molds around my body
like the muddy
clay that clings to the hillside behind the barn.
If I close my eyes…
the ghost of my father dances through me-
the scent of Old Spice sweetens the air.
I BECOME LOST
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Warning!!! Cute puppy alert. OK, well she's not really a puppy. She's almost two. Her name is Emmie and she is a Shar Pei lab mix. I adopted her almost two weeks ago from a rescue group and am so happy I found her. We are still going through an adjustment period, as she panics when left alone. For the most part it is okay because I work from home, but I mean she can't go everywhere with me.
She is a great girl, very calm and submissive. For the most part she listens to commands. She loves, loves, loves, the car. I was really surprised by this, but if I even open the garage she will go in and protest, refusing to leave without bribery. Once she stayed out there for about 20 minutes before I realized she wasn't going to come out willingly. That time she actually managed to sneak in the car and even though I left the doors open she was content to sleep on the back seat!
Because I live down the street from my parents and they have a fenced yards we take walks at least three times a week so she can play with Madison and Lucy. She thinks it's doggy daycare. But at this point, it's better than having her mess in the kennel. She gets so covered in her own poo that I have to bathe her everytime, and she does not like getting a bath.
So if we can work the crate issue out, we will be all set.
I know I've been MIA for a while. I hope you've enjoyed the video clips I've been posting. I wanted to give folks a quick update on my newest WIP (work in progress). I have officially finished the first draft of Love Sex Magic. I am super excited as it was a ton of fun to write and I did about 40k in the last month to finish it. I'm getting crits on the first three chapters from two different writing groups and getting a lot of positive feedback(which is always a good thing). I think the readers are falling for the characters as quickly as I did. (LOL).
So, "what's next?", you ask. I am cleaning up the first three chapters and putting together a synopsis for a novel package review from the editor of Juno Books. Yea! If you've ever met Paula, she's super nice and has a great eye for talent. :) I mean she bought books from three off my writing group buddies.
That said, since I didn't formally submit my first novel (it has yet to come together in the manner that I'd like and truly meet my vision), I am really excited about getting to shop Love Sex Magic around. I hope to get it all polished up this month (August) and be ready to send out to agents early fall. If I could get some quick traction on this baby this year, I'd be a very happy girl.
I may be looking for 1 or 2 beta readers soon, so if you have any interest please let me know!! I try to return the favor as much as possible, because I believe it is such an important part of the process.
I just found another free read. This one is the prequel to Rachel Vincent's new YA series My Soul to Take. Right now you can download the ebook for free!! How cool is that. Here is the link. Let me know what you think.
Free E-Book My Soul to Lose
Balog, Cyn -- Fairy Tale
Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.
Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future.
Click Here to read an excerpt
Brennan, Sarah Rees -- The Demon's Lexicon
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.Click here to read an excerpt
Day, S.J. -- Eve of Chaos
How do you tell Satan that you ran over his dog?
Evangeline Hollis has no idea, and she doesn’t want to find out. She’d rather forget the Infernal that nearly wiped out her training class and killed some of the best demonhunting Marks in the world. Living with the Mark of Cain—and the two sexy brothers who come with it—is trouble enough.
Satan has put a bounty on Eve’s head, and Hell’s denizens are converging on Southern California. The Infernals are complicating Eve’s hunts and creating chaos in her once orderly life. They’ve also brought her to the attention of an overzealous reverend who’s certain she’s Jezebel reincarnate.
Robertson, Linda -- Vicious Circle
Being a witch doesn't pay the bills, but Persephone Alcmedi gets by between reading Tarot cards, writing her syndicated newspaper column, and kenneling werewolves in the basement when the moon is full -- even if witches aren't supposed to mingle with wolves. She really reaches the end of her leash, though, when her grandmother gets kicked out of the nursing home and Seph finds herself in the doghouse about some things she's written. Then her werewolf friend Lorrie is murdered...and the high priestess of an important coven offers Seph big money to destroy the killer, a powerful vampire named Goliath Kline. Seph is a tough girl, but this time she bites off more than she can chew. She needs a little help from her friends -- werewolf friends. One of those friends, Johnny, the motorcycle-riding lead singer for the techno-metal-Goth band Lycanthropia, has a crush on her. And while Seph has always been on edge around this 6'2" leather-clad hunk, she's starting to realize that although their attraction may be dangerous, nothing could be as lethal as the showdown that awaits them.
Vincent, Rachel -- Prey
Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game…
Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.
Click here to read an excerpt
Yeah right. Money is money and writers want (and probably deserve) it just like any other hard working soul. Yet so many folks enter the business and have no idea what they are doing. They have limited understanding of the way the publishing business works, and thus sometimes foolish expectations of their value. Thus whenever I can post something about the money behind the writing, I do. So here is a great resource (SHOW ME THE MONEY) from romance writer Brenda Hiatt, who broke down typical advances and earnings for major publishers in the romance genre.
Sample breakdown of the info on each publisher:
Average advance (first book): $17,000 Median: $7,000
Average advance (subsequent books): $26,500 Median: $13,000
Advance range: $5000 - $100,000
Standard royalty percentage: 8%
Average earn-out: $23,000 Median: $26,500 Range: $12,000 - $35,000
I've got your attention now, don't I?
These numbers are pretty on par for most genres, but if you don't believe me you can check out The Business of Money (part 1) to take a glance at some Sci-Fi and Fantasy figures. Like any industry, there are publishers who fall much higher or lower than the average, so remember to take outliers with a grain of salt. Also remember to note the sample size. I haven't been able to find anything conducted en masse, by an established writers association like SFWA or RWA.
Enjoy! And if you find any other good resources on "The Money" feel free to post a link in the comments section.
I just found a cool free read.
The folks over at Eos, who in honor of the release (on June 30) of the latest novel from urban fantasy author Vicki Pettersson, are offering a free online read of her very first novel, The Scent of Shadows. You can find that here at the Eos site. They also have up a sneak peak at the aforementioned June 30th release, City of Souls.
I don't know how long it lasts, so take advantage of this ASAP.
Honestly folks, I think you will enjoy this one. And the second books is even better! Again, as a lucky friend I got to read an advanced copy. :)
Here's a newer trailer. Sorry It's late. Oh, and someone on YouTube was hating on TrueBlood because they said it was Twilight that started the vamp craze, and well, hello. That's just about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. There are tons of popular books, tv shows, and movies around vampire that existed before twilight! It has and will continue to be a trend that goes in and out of style with the masses. Lucky for me, I like vamps always!
If anything last nights performance proves that when you get a bunch of hormone crazed girls in front of the perfect man "Edward" (the character not the RPatz the actor) they will stop at nothing short of obsession to be a part of that world, even if it means supporting a pretty lame movie w/some bad actors, weird hair, awkward pauses and lets face it hideous hair. I'm talking to you KStew and RPatz. You will one day look back on this film and ask yourself why, what in the world posessed you that your hair actually looked good and that dress wasn't from a prop closet in a spiderman set.
Oh and then their were the adults who were acting like moronic idiots as well, like Sasha Baron Cohen (whom I absolutely cannot stand). When he put his bare ass in Eminem's face a fight practically stormed out and one person stormed out of the auditorium. But really, even if he is a little homophobic, could SBCohen have gotten away with this if it had been a woman? Me thinks there would have been lots of grounds for a sexual harassment lawsuit and rightfully deserved.
Overall the night was kind of like watching a trainwreck and a bad high school reunion popularity contest, where people dressed wierd, tried too hard to be cool, and made way too many penis jokes. What are we twelve? Oh wait. That is probably their target demographic right?
Anyway, so you don't have to watch the whole horrid thing on Tivo or DVR you can see the best parts below, including the official trailer for NEW MOON and an exclusive (well no longer) clip of HARRY POTTER: HALF-BLOOD PRINCE.
So here is the list: (there are 66 agents in total, these are just a few)
PITCH SLAM 2009
MIRIAM KRISS (Irene Goodman Literary) is seeking all areas of commercial fiction including, but not limited to: mystery, romance, thrillers, YA, fantasy (especially urban fantasy), and SF. She is also interested in narrative nonfiction and memoir.
CHERRY WEINER (Cherry Weiner Literary) handles all genres of fiction, and
specializes in science fiction, fantasy (especially urban fantasy), romance, Westerns and Native American works. Some nonfiction has even crept into the mix but she doesn’t consider poetry or children’s.
JOANNA STAMPFEL-VOLPE (Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation) represents everything from children’s books (chapter books to YA, both nonfiction and fiction), to adult fiction (speculative, romance, historical, paranormal, unique fantasy, thrillers, literary, dark comedy, dark drama, horror) and she will occasionally take on strong narrative nonfiction with pop culture, environmental or food elements.
GRETCHEN STELTER (Baker’s Mark Literary Agency) works with creators who write in the same genres she loves to read: middle grade and YA fiction, magic(al) realism, contemporary fiction, and women’s fiction. She is interested in anything with an urban fantasy touch (more Mike Carey than Maurice Dantec), and the middle grade and YA should have edgy, true-to-life characters and dialogue. The contemporary and women’s fiction should have a wide entry point for its audience but a strong hook that makes it stand out from the crowd.
GINGER CLARK (Curtis Brown, Ltd.) represents science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, paranormal chick lit, literary horror, and young adult and middle grade fiction.
STACIA DECKER (Firebrand Literary) is looking for adult narrative nonfiction in the areas of politics, history, biography, travel, memoir, current events, and pop culture. She also specializes in hard-boiled mystery and crime fiction.
LEAH HULTENSCHMIDT (editor, Dorchester Publishing) is looking to meet with authors or agents who have a completed romance manuscript of 75,000-95,000 words in the following romance subgenres: historical, paranormal, futuristic, urban fantasy, and romantic suspense.
SANDY LU (L. Perkins Agency) specializes in both quality fiction and nonfiction, with a particular interest in dark literary fiction, edgy urban fiction, historical fiction, mystery, thriller, psychological horror, upscale women’s fiction, and multicultural fiction. Her nonfiction categories are narrative nonfiction, history, biography, science, pop culture, and food writing.
JENNY RAPPAPORT (The Rappaport Agency) specializes in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance.
JANET REID (FinePrint Literary Management, aka QueryShark) specializes in crime fiction. She also represents narrative nonfiction, reference and how to books. She’s open to pitches on any topic however. Good writing trumps all.
And for those of you who already have an agent, I'd love to hear your story? Tell us how you found your agent or what you like best about them?
Here's how it works: Several awesome blog chainers have teamed up to write a short story according to a prompt. We're doing something similar to this post. Elena Johnson picked the first topic, http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/ and the goal is: (get this), to write! This is a call for writing from anyone, anywhere, any time this month.
May's Topic: Flowers!!
Rules: It's a short story. 100 words, 500, whatev. Post it on your own blog sometime this month (inviting others to write according to the prompt) and come back here (and post your link so we can read yours too!). Your story has to have flowers in it somehow. Any which way.
Here's mine: Short and Sweet.
By Missy Lynn Ryan
We met in the garden. It was one of those lazy summer days where the heat gives way to a quick shower and rain sprays over your skin. I was sitting in the cove of a willow tree, protected by its sloping limbs when he came up behind me.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
Startled, the charcoal stick in my hand snapped and pieces scattered over the page in my favorite sketch book.
“What are you doing?” he asked again.
I quickly grabbed my bag, collecting my things before standing. “I’m sorry,” I started, the words barely leaving my lips before his hand wrapped around mine, pulling me back towards him. “I was just leaving,” I mumbled.
It was a lie. I wasn’t sure why I bothered. He didn’t believe a word of it.
“Sit with me?” he asked.
Reluctantly, I let him pull me back towards the ground; let him maneuver his body so that my head rested against his shoulder and his arm draped across my back. It was heaven there, in the comfort of his world, with the smell of his cologne lacing each breath. I wanted it to last forever.
But nothing ever does.
I could hear my name off in the distance. Someone calling me, demanding I return to a world, a life, I hated. I tightened my grip on his shirt, refusing to let go. It was no use. His image began to blur as the world around me melted away. I felt a single tear trail along my face. It wasn’t enough time, never enough time.
I woke up with a start in the darkened room, mother banging on the locked door, threatening to remove it from the hinges if I didn’t show any sign of life. I groaned and reached for the light switch as something fell from the blankets tangled around my body. In a moment of confusion I stared down at the flower, a virgin white lily, resting on the floor. Then a rush of warmth took my breath away. Fingers shaking I lifted the flower and inhaled.
It was the first of many bedside gifts from my garden refuge.
Or not. Your choice. But if it were me, I wouldn't want to explain to my reading buddy why I won an awesome cool prize and didn't even bother to tell them about the contest!
Oh yeah, you are probably thinking, "Come on, Melissa. Get to the good stuff."
Well here it is, an interview from Charlaine Harris from the Wall Street Journal. Seriously, the WSJ? Wow, she's getting around. Oh, did I mention, there is an excerpt here too? Just a little teaser:
“The closer I got to the vampire bar, the more my pulse picked up. This was the downside to the blood bond I had with Eric Northman.” Read an excerpt from "Dead and Gone"
Read the full interview here:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124120839635478289.html
AND DON"T FORGET TO ENTER THE CONTEST. (As if you needed the reminder)
HOT!!! Here's the new promo for Season 2.
Don't forget to check out the other True Blood and Dead and Gone Goodies and enter the 24 Hour Countdown to Sookie contest!
Here's a look at what you can find on www.borders.com/trueblood:
- Behind-the-scenes footage - A sneak peek at the making of the TRUE BLOOD series, including interviews with director Alan Ball and actors Anna Paquin, who plays Sookie Stackhouse, and Stephen Moyer, who plays her 173-year-old vampire boyfriend Bill Compton.
- Character pieces - Video vignettes on favorite TRUE BLOOD characters including Sookie, Bill, Sam, Tara, Jason and Lafayette.
- Series trailer - Exciting highlights of scenes from the first season of the hit HBO series.
- Chapter excerpt - Advanced access to a unique excerpt chosen by the author - and unavailable anywhere else - of Harris' highly anticipated new release "Dead and Gone."
- Exclusive Q&A with Harris - In this Q&A, Harris reveals how she feels about her enigmatic leading lady Sookie.
- Exclusive author essay - Titled "Sookie and Me and HBO," the essay explores Harris' thoughts on HBO's adaptation of her books.
- Not-yet-published book covers - Fans can get an advance look at yet-to-be released book covers for Harris' other Sookie Stackhouse novels: "Living Dead in Dallas," "Club Dead," "Dead to the World," "Dead as a Doornail" and "All Together Dead."
Also don't forget to register for our own 24 hour Countdown to Sookie Contest! You can win a copy of Dead and Gone and your choice of a True Blood T-Shirt!!! As the name suggests, you can only enter for the 24 hour period, and it's already started! The drawing will take place on Tuesday 12PM Eastern time. So get steppin!
May is finally here and to celebrate I am doing a month of giveaways! Each week I will be giving away a new urban fantasy/paranormal book. First up, hot off the press, is the new Sookie Stackhouse novel, "Dead and Gone". The winner will receive a hardcover copy of the book and their choice of a "True Blood" t-shirt.
I know you are all jumping with joy at the thought and anxiously waiting to discover how to enter. I promise, it's super easy.
1. Answer the following question, "Aside from Sookie, Eric, and Bill, who is your favorite character in the books or in the TV series and why?" That's it. Post your answer in the comments below(good for 1 entry).
2. For bonus entries (1 entry for each action) you can do any or all of the following:
- retweet the contest on twitter (be sure to include @missylynnryan in the tweet).
- post about the contest on your own blog and DM or email the link to email@example.com
The drawing will take place on Tuesday May 5th @ 12PM Eastern. That gives you 24 hours to enter! I will post the name of the winner on my blog.
1. Charlaine Harris: Dead and Gone
This is the first chapter from the next book in the Southern Vampires series. If you've read any of my other posts, you will know I am a huge fan of Charlaine in general as well as the TV adaptation True Blood. One is incredibly funny and sexy at the same time, the other, still sexy, but a little edgier. I am super psyched that she is going to be at DragonCon this year. I plan on attending and hope to catch at least one glimpse of her, maybe a photo or two!
Dead and Gone Excerpt
Book Release: May 5th
True Blood Season 1 DVD Release: May 19th
True Blood Season 2 on HBO: June 14th
2. Rachel Vincent: My Soul to Take
We all know Rachel does a sexy awesome werecat series, but did you know she's about to release her first novel in a YA series under a new Harlequin Teen imprint? According to the Harlequin press release, "The story features a courageous and determined teen banshee heroine who must stop her classmates from dying before their time." Sounds fun to me. Check out the excerpt and the flashy reader that comes along with it.
My Soul To Take Excerpt:
3. P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast: Hunted
Yes, I know. This book is already out. But you do realize that their are avid urban fantasy and paranormal romance readers who have a full blown fear of stalking over to the YA section and scrounging around for a good read? I actually really like this series and recommend it as a fun and fast read (think lazy days in the sunshine with not a care in the world!) Hunted is the fifth book in the series, and I'm hoping this excerpt will convince some of you to venture into the world of YA! As long as you look like you know what you're doing creepy salespeople won't stare.
Okay Folks, that's all for now. I'm working on getting you more sneak peeks and other goodies. Stay posted.
So you tell me, what book are you dying to get your hands on? Share with is in the comments below!
But you tell me? You like? You want me to include a specific type of content or a useful widget? Post me a comment and tell me what you think.
Money: I've always been fascinated by the topic, and not because it seems to be taboo in the writing community. Too often creative types get caught up in this psycho babel b.s., believing that their work has to be about the art, not the money. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating selling out. But the whole starving artist bit is a little cliche. This is the 21st century, and those cool little gadgets that make life so fabulous (i.e. iPhones, DVRs, Plasma TVs, not to mention the modern conveniences of things like electricity and running water), they all require cold hard cash.
When I tell someone I want to be a full-time published author they say, "Oh you want to write a novel? I want to write a book before I die." After hearing this, I calmly take a deep breath before shaking the crap out of them. HELLO!!! If someone said, "I want to be a surgeon" would your response be, "I've always wanted to cut someone open?" For my sanity's sake, lets hope the answer is no.
But I digress. My point is this. There is a difference between having a "Bucket List" aspiration of publishing a novel before you die and making a career and supporting your family off of your writing. How can writers possibly be expected to manage our writing career without accurate information (or hell, any information) on the business of writing?
So today we've got a couple blog posts that go into detail on things like the average genre writer's advance, the print run size of a NY Times best-selling author, and that oh so important question, "what will my royalty check look like?". I should also note, that my intention is not to fill you head with fantasies about how wealthy you'll be when you finally hit it big, rather I want to give you some context, a point of reference so that you can compare your own situation to someone in a relatively similar position.
First up, an oldie but goody: Tobias Buckell's Author Advance Survey 2.0
Toby took advantage of his vast networking skills to create an anonymous survey that science fiction and fantasy authors complete and provide information about their advances. Though it isn't the most scientific study (and really what salary survey is?), it does provide some interesting data. This information can be used to help folks determine if they want to try and sell a book on their own or hold out for an agent (notice the difference in earnings).
Second, the Goods from a NY Times Bestseller: Lynn Viehl's Royalty Earnings
Can you say eye-opening. The dollars alone are interesting, I mean who hasn't wondered what kind of cash you are pulling in when on the bestseller list? But Lynn actually goes beyond the data to provide us with some context around the numbers. For example, it is very important to consider the size of your print run when trying to predict your chances of being on the coveted list. Some runs are just too small to be in the running. Also, if you check this out, be sure to read over the comments too. Some other authors have chimed in, adding their two cents and I found it just as insightful.
Last, the basics on Royalty Calculation: Joe Wikert's 2020 Publishing Blog
I included this post because many folks new to the writing business don't understand the basics on how royalties work. I always hear a lot of questions about advances against future royalties--and more recently debates about which is better a higher or lower advances (though I can discuss that in another post). This is just to get you caught up on the basics. Joe has a couple other interesting posts on money aspects of writing, so be sure to take a look around his site.
I should add that it is important to consider your source and take everything with a grain of salt. There are no absolutes in publishing. When folks talk about earnings, there are a multitude of factors that contribute to the final dollar figure on that freshly cut check. For example, advances often differ from genre to genre. I personally have seen lower advances in SciFi and Fantasy than in mainstream fiction. Some publishing houses may be willing to do larger print runs than others and it may have nothing to do with you or your book. Just keep this info in the back of your head, because you never know when it will come in handy.
Attention Team Jacob members: I know you’re out there with your squishy feel good hearts, always rooting for the underdog and jealous of that the pouty vampire who keeps stealing all the attention, not to mention the girls. Have no fear, there are plenty of Paranormal Romances and Urban Fantasies on the market that cater exclusively to four-legged shifters.
One such must-have collection is Rachel Vincent’s werecat series. Faythe, the female protagonist, is witty and stubborn and speaks without thinking, which often gets her into trouble and seems to be a hallmark of any heroine in an urban fantasy. After all, if the characters played it safe all the time nothing interesting would happen.
I just finished reading the third book in the series and though it was not my favorite, it was a fast-read and definitely exposed us to whole new political (and very much darker) side of the werecat society.
I would like to note to folks, that this is not one of those series where you can pick up any book and understand everything that is going on. In fact the majority of the third book is as a result of the “alleged” crimes committed in the second. Besides, the first book is probably my favorite. Why not start there?
Like the other books, it was a pretty substantial length, but there were parts, especially in the beginning, where the pacing was very slow and bogged down because of the trial. I missed not having all the siblings on the page at the same time. Not as many flirty scenes, nor do we have the same sort of sexual tension that exists in the first two books. But overall still fun.
|This Week||Weeks on List|
|1||THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephenie Meyer. (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown, hardcover and paper) Vampires and werewolves in high school. (Ages 12 and up)||86|
|2||DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney. (Abrams, hardcover only) A boy records the hazards of adolescent life. (Ages 9 to 12)||11|
|3||HOUSE OF NIGHT, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. (St. Martin’s, hardcover and paper) Vampires in school. (Ages 14 and up)||31|
|4||THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, by Cassandra Clare. (McElderry/Simon & Schuster, hardcover and paper) A girl battles the forces of darkness. (Ages 14 and up)||1|
|5||MAXIMUM RIDE, by James Patterson. (Little Brown, hardcover and paper) Winged children try to save the world. (Ages 10 and up)||47|
|6||FABLEHAVEN, by Brandon Mull. (Shadow Mountain/Aladdin, hardcover and paperback) Evil is afoot in a sanctuary for magical creatures. (Ages 9 to 12)||5|
|7||THE 39 CLUES, by various authors. (Scholastic, hardcover only) A brother and sister travel the world in search of the key to their family’s power. (Ages 9 to 12)||4|
|8||MAGIC TREE HOUSE, by Mary Pope Osborne. Illustrated by Sal Murdocca. (Stepping Stone/Random House, hardcover and paper) Winged children try to save the world. (Ages 6 to 9)||204|
|9||NIGHT WORLD, by L. J. Smith. (Simon Pulse, paper only) Supernatural races form secret societies. (Ages 14 and up)||17|
|10||HARRY POTTER, by J. K. Rowling. (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, hardcover and paper) A young wizard hones his skills while fighting evil. (Ages 10 and up)|
We all know about Harry Potter and Twilight. But my lesser known fave would have to be Mortal Instruments Trilogy. I just finished reading the last book and I loved it. Meatier than Twilight and more adult than Harry Potter (at least the early HP books). The Patterson books are on my to read list. I already have the first one but haven't had time to dive in. And I just want to read the diary of a wimpy kid because it looks so cute. If I had a little boy or nephew, I would be reading it with him!
You're probably wondering why I didn't mention the LJ Smith books. Because they are super old and I read them years ago when the first came out. In my opinion they don't stand up to the the strength and quality of the new YA that is out there. I reread one book in 2008 because I was so excited to see that it was in reprint, but the reading was a big let down. The big question now, will I think that about Twilight or Harry Potter when I re-read again in ten years? I doubt it since I just finished a full read through of HP in Feb and loved it. Go figure.
What are your favorite YA books right now? Anything I should add to me to read list?
Yeah, yeah. I've heard it all before. But the reality is this. Hollywood doesn't like to take chances. So it waits until it sees something that works (letting someone else assume the risk) and then tries to replicate it to death and make as much money as possible before the trend crashes and burns. And it will crash and burn. The market will become over saturated with crappy vampire media and there will undoubtedly be a backlash where folks think that writing or filming vampires is cliche and over done. And who can blame them? It's already happened before folks!
Only a handful of vampire based TV shows have even been successful in the last twenty years and it has nothing to do with how sexy or gory the actors are. People like things because they are fresh and different. Something new. Not because they are a poor imitation of the last book they read or film they saw. I love vampires, have been reading and writing them for years, even when they weren't cool and I will continue to do so, but even I want to throw up in my mouth a little at the mere mention of Twilight.
Is there room for a very well made successful TV show or movie...of course. Look at True Blood. It is edgy and eclectic, graphic and sinful. It somehow manages to keep the charm of the Southern Vampire books while creating a show that is so drastically fresh it does the vampire name justice. I'm all about vampire media I can be proud of! But I worry that the Anita movie won't cut it and will be one more nail in the coffin (pun intended).
Other questions: Will the show take on the tone of the older books or the newer books?(As you probably know, I'm an old school fan and haven't been able to get into the last two or three books, so my opinion of the show will probably be skewed depending on which approach they take.) However, given there are so many books, maybe it won't follow the plot of one single book, but simply take on the characters and relationships and create a totally new story premise?
Regardless, I can give you a whole host of fresh vamp-friendly reads to get you through the long wait for the next vamp series/movie you're waiting for, be it New Moon, True Blood or Anita Blake. For starters, check out the link below for Wicked Game.