Twilight Fun!

If you haven't already seen this, it will give you a good laugh. Especially if your experience of reading the four novels was anything like mine. If curious, I actually have some older posts on the whole tale.

Urban Fantasy Excerpts Are Here!!!

Today is your lucky day! I don't do this often, but given the plethora of good books published in the last three months, I felt it was worthwhile. I love excerpts even though they undoubtedly are nothing but a tease. They get you all excited and then--WHAM! Some lame statement about purchasing the book the summer of God only knows what year. And sure, I could not read them...but what's the fun in that? Life is all about highs and lows, not playing it safe. I'll enjoy my ten minutes of bliss if it means I have to ponder what that first scene meant for another six months. I'm okay with that and I am hoping that you are too! Because this post is all about the free stuff.

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.

Hunted Excerpt

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!

New Blog Design!!!

Yep. It was time to upgrade the blog. I have been delaying the inevitable for years. I refused to convert to the new templates for fear of losing my customization. Though I still put a good five or six hours in the relaunch, I am loving the new design and I hope it will be more functional for readers.

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.

HP- Half-Blood Prince Trailer

Still geeking out. Can't believe I forgot to post on my blog!

The Business of Writing

It's like the dirty little secret that no one talks about. The big elephant we pretend we don't see. But let's face it. We all want the scoop. In fact, we need the scoop, in order to make educated decisions about our writing careers. So today's post is dedicated to all those brave writers who have taken a stand and attempted to fill us newbies (and sometimes veterans) in on the finances of publishing, and ultimately how YOU get paid.

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.

What I’m Reading: Rachel Vincent, Pride

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.

Related Links:

Have You Read Me Yet

Here's a glance at the bestselling YA series on the market today--courtesy of the NYTimes. For the full list of bestsellers check out How many have you read?

This Week
Weeks on List
1THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephenie Meyer. (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown, hardcover and paper) Vampires and werewolves in high school. (Ages 12 and up)86
2DIARY 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
3HOUSE OF NIGHT, by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. (St. Martin’s, hardcover and paper) Vampires in school. (Ages 14 and up)31
4THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS, by Cassandra Clare. (McElderry/Simon & Schuster, hardcover and paper) A girl battles the forces of darkness. (Ages 14 and up)1
5MAXIMUM RIDE, by James Patterson. (Little Brown, hardcover and paper) Winged children try to save the world. (Ages 10 and up)47
6FABLEHAVEN, by Brandon Mull. (Shadow Mountain/Aladdin, hardcover and paperback) Evil is afoot in a sanctuary for magical creatures. (Ages 9 to 12)5
7THE 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
8MAGIC 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
9NIGHT WORLD, by L. J. Smith. (Simon Pulse, paper only) Supernatural races form secret societies. (Ages 14 and up)17
10HARRY 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?

Anita Blake Movie???

Where to start, where to start?? Today LKH posted the official press release (click link above to view) for the Anita Blake TV series/movie (not really clear which it is) to be aired in the summer of 2010. If you had told me this five years ago, I would have been jumping for joy. Today, I am more than a little unenthusiastic about the project. Feelings for the direction of the series aside, it feels a little like jumping on the bandwagon, which is something that Hollywood has down to a T. I can hear the arguments starting already. The Anita books have been out for more than 15 years! They predated the cult-like Twilight phenomenon. The books are less paranormal romance/epic love story with a supernatural twist and more gritty urban fantasy with a hard-boiled detective slant.

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.

Wicked Game Mass Market Paperback!!!