Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Characters on Board!

My science fiction alter ego was kindly asked to participate in one of SF Signal's Mind Meld questions. This time the question was: "What are the advantages of character driven science fiction stories over stories that emphasize technology and sense of wonder? Can you provide some examples of stories that deliver both in a satisfying way?"

My answer (and those of many other wonderful authors) was....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Order Now!

...and now you can pre-order PRECINCT 13!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Precinct 13... Done (Kinda)

Last night, I typed my two favorite words in the English language: "The END." Of course, at this stage, the book is really not done in the least. My MVBR (most valuable beta reader), Naomi Kritzer, has yet to read and comment on all the stuff I skimmed over, my embarassingly stupid misspellings, the plot holes, and the bits I blatently left out. Naomi is also wicked awesome at uncovering emotional themes that I didn't entirely realize I had going and giving me ways to bring them more to the surface. So, when she's done, I'll have some work to do.

BUT I can haz a working draft. A book what has a beginning, middle and end. For me, the hardest part is over, as I'm one of those writers who really prefers revision to writing (in some ways. It's at least a place I feel a lot less PRESSURE.)

To be fair to this WiP, however,I actually really enjoyed putting words to the page this time around, thanks, in large part, to my mother's advice to simply "embrace the cheese."

I will have to say, however, that I am never again naming any project with a title that includes the number 13. This book has been totally cursed. This morning, I got frantic email from Naomi telling me that the version I emailed her seemed to end in the middle of a scene. I went back to my computer and it looked like I didn't save all the words I'd written that took the story from that scene to "The END." I started to FREAK. Then, I realized that through some really weird accident, the final version of the book got renamed (of all things) "Maybe." (Explain THAT one, Dr. Freud.)

This was not the first computer weirdness I've had since starting the book. I'm seriously looking on-line for an "uninstal gremlins" button for the Toshiba.

Anyway, that's a big YAY. Shawn looked at me this morning and asked, "So what are you going to do with all your free time?"

For one, I need to start writing up ideas for more book proposals. I also have a short story percoloating in the back of my mind that I'd like to get down on paper for an anthology I was considering submitting to.

So... uh, write, I guess. :-)

Friday, October 07, 2011

New Review!

A new review of the first Ana book, ALMOST TO DIE FOR, is up on Check it out!

Monday, October 03, 2011


I'm officially overdue on my WiP (Precinct 13, see amazing cover art below.)

And, I'm beginning to wonder at my wisdom of naming it with such an inauspicious number in the title. After all, there have been a series of unfortunate events that have lead to to this book being late. My father has been ill on and off, quite seriously, which would be trauma enough... BUT, I also had a computer crash (literally, as I dropped the computer on its hard drive) which resulted in a complete loss of everything I'd written on the book to-date.


Friday, September 30, 2011

OMG! OMG! Best Cover Art EVA

Here's the cover art for PRECINCT 13, my WiP. It's actually a bit overdue at the publisher, but I'm frantically writing and should have done soon. Because, DUDE, I so want to write a book as AWESOME as this cover!!!

What do you think?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

MMP for TTD!

Use your decoder rings for the subject line! It means that there will be a mass-market paperback edition of Tall, Dark & Dead coming to a store near you in April of 2012 (or via pre-order today!)

If you're still scratching your head and asking, "Grandma, what's a mass-market paperback?" Well, honey, back in the late Jurassic, when your nana was young, MMPs were pocket-sized books you used to see on newstands. Most of nana's favorite books were mass-market paperbacks. In fact, nana is *so* old, we used to just call them "paperbacks," because there really weren't a heck of a lot of trade paperbacks to confuse them with.

Well, guess what? They still make 'em, and I'm super-psyched to be getting one!! And I hope they sell like HOTCAKES... no, child, I have no idea what a hotcake is or why it sells so well...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Playlist of the Damned

I think blog interviewers can smell fear or dorkiness or something, because, inevitably, they ask me this question: Do you have a play list for each of your novels? If not, can you think of a few relevant songs?

I always FAIL play list.

I haz no play list. In fact, I write all my novels to silence, or at least what passes for silence in a mostly empty house with a few cats, gerbils, and some fish. Sometimes I bust out and write in a place as noisy as a coffee shop, but I almost never consciously listen to whatever is playing on the overhead speakers because my brain wants to either listen to the story of the song, or sing along.

I will, occasionally, plug in my .mp3 play and hit random, but the songs that come up are so incredibly dorky that if I admitted to owning them legions of fans would desert me for the mere fact that I really kind of still dig Mike and the Mechanics....


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sad News (Sort of)

I got some bad news from my agent yesterday afternoon. It seems that Peguin is _not_ interested in more stories about Ana Parker, alas. So, ALMOST EVERYTHING will be the final installment.

Luckily, I've been down this road before with the Garnet Lacey series, and I actually wrote ALMOST EVERYTHING as a possible ender for the series. I had HOPED to write another set of books in which Ana is the Queen of the Vampires, and then another triology where she's the Empress, etc., etc. all the way up to Goddess, perhaps!

But, I guess she'll always just be a princess. :-)

The silver lining is that I'm still hard at work on PRECINCT 13, so you can look for more things by me in the near future. I'm planning to propose a sequel to PRECINCT 13, as well as something, as the Monty Python folks would say, completely different. So... fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lunch Date with Adam

MinnSpec Meetup will be hosting a lunch with the newest Wyrdsmith, Adam Stemple, at the Lund's in Uptown next Sunday, September 18 at noon. Adam Stemple, author of Singer of Souls, Stewart of Song, and other pieces, will speak with the group. Bring your writing related questions for a relaxed Q&A session over lunch. The Meetup page can be found here.

Adam Stemple's website:

Lund's "Uptown" can be found at 1450 West lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

Friday, September 09, 2011

How Awesome is He?

Normally, I try to keep the "my son is SOOOOOOOOOO awesome" (how awesome is he!?)" blogs to a minimum, but I have a couple of stories about Mason I just really, really want to share.

In the first story, however, the awesome rightly belongs to Mason's new teacher, Mr. G--. When I picked up Mason at school the other day we had this conversation:

Mason: "Do we have any books at home that contain a lot of information?"

Me: "Sure. We've got the Encycolpedia Britannica." (Brief explaination that we actually have several copies of the 11th edition.) Then, "Why?"

Mason: "So I can get a scholarship to Yale, of course."

This prompted a whole discussion during the rest of the ride about what undergraduate degrees are, graduate school, and Ph.D. programs. I reminded Mason that his grandpa has a Ph.D. and this got Mason even more excited. Plus, he was just about jumping out of his seat at the idea that he could actually get a degree in READING (like me, I told him, as I got a BA in English). He decided that he would get his docorate in "fantasy literature," just like one of his favorite authors J. R. R. Tolkien.

Turns out, Mr. G. had been talking about how a friend of his got a full-ride to Yale and really stressed to the kids that if they wanted to, they could go to one of the best colleges in the world and not pay a dime in tuition.

I LOVE this man.

Then, when I stopped by Mason's class yesterday to talk to Mr. G. about what time he wanted me to come in on Thursdays to do my volunteering, Mr. G. had a couple other funny stories to tell. He had an introduction excercise where he had kids write down "Three things you might not know about me...." He collected everyone's answers and read them in front of the class and had the students try to guess who the answers belonged to. When he got to Mason's he started reading, "I have an EXTENSIVE..." and hands shot up instantly. Just the use of the word "extensive" caused the entire class to guess Mason. (Full answer, even bigger clue: "extensive library at home.")

The second introduction excercise he had them do was bring in pictures of their families doing something they enjoy. Mason brought in a picture of the three of us up at a friend's cabin. But when we were going through pictures with him, he decided that, for fun, he'd bring in this one as well:

Mason, ever the showman, set the picture up by saying, "As you know, one of my favorite things is reading. I also like swimming. But how about combining them?"

One of the other personality plus boys in the class, our friend from kindergarden, yelled out, "That's IMPOSSIBLE!!" (unwittingly playing the perfect straight man.)

Mason said, "Ha! I have photographic evidence!" and showed off the picture. Mr. G. was utterly delighted and has asked permission to put the extra picture up on their board in class.


And it's only the first week... of THIRD GRADE!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Polish Edition

My editor sent me a couple of copies of ALMOST TO DIE FOR's Polish edition. Probably the coolest part of foregin language versions is seeing the acknowledgement page translated, because everyone's names stand out. Normally, they don't get translated or changed at all, but in Polish Shawn became "Shawnowi."


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Reality Cooking

My family is very odd, indeed. One of our family traditions lately is to settle down on the couch together on Monday and Tuesday nights to tune into "Master Chef." Master Chef, if you don't watch network TV or reality shows, is about a group of ameteur chefs preparing various dishes, taking on culinary challenges (like cooking for 250 kids at a block party,) and generally attempting to impress three gourmet superstars: Chefs Ramses, Graham, and "Zod."

I can not explain my family's attraction to this show. It really ought to be quite boring, but, of course, the various chef superstars ham it up and, when the contestants's entries suck, they spit out food, gag, and throw things in the bin with much panache. There's a designated villian among the amatuer chefs -- this season, it's the arrogant, potty-mouthed Christian. Likewise, there are good guys to root for: Ben Starr is currently my favorite (because my gaydar goes ding), but there are others I like well enough that I wouldn't be disappointed if they won. It's all very melodramatic and manufactured, but we're hooked none-the-less.

The positive outcome of our obsession, however, is this:

On Saturday morning, before I headed off to the con, I pulled out one of my more favorite blueberry muffin recipies and let him read and follow the directions on his own (with only a few helpful hints from me about measuring and whatnot.) Afterwards, we played Master Chef by pretending to be the various chefs commenting on his offering.

Mason really wanted to wear the apron because one of the shticks in Master Chef is that if you get "voted off the island" you have to surrender your Master Chef apron. Theirs are, alas, notably less frilly, but Mason didn't care as long as it was an apron.

Also, please note the "M" shape of the muffins. Mason has learned that, on Master Chef, "plating" is sometimes as important as taste!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I'll be reading (or taking part in a discussion?) at Dreamhaven Books tonight from 6:30 - 7:30 pm as part of the Speculations Reading Series, along with fellow Diversicon honored guests David Hartwell and John Calvin Rezmerski. Hmmm... I hadn't really read that first bit very carefully. Perhaps I _don't_ need to figure out what I need to read tonight.... Either way, it's bound to be a good time. Please join us!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A better worded plug for Diversicon

It's been pointed out to me that sometimes the way I say things on this blog (and probably in Real Life TM,) come off differently than I intended. For instance when I say that Diversicon is a tiny con, that was NOT meant as a dis in anyway. Small is awesome for many reasons, not the least of which is that a person can have real, meaningful and in-depth conversations in a way that isn't always possible at the bigger cons where there's just so much to do and see.

Some of my fondest con experiences have happened at Diversicon, specifically, and smaller cons in general, and what I was trying to express was great enthusiasm. In all honesty, I absolutely do think MORE people should come to Diversicon because, when they don't, they're missing out.

I really hope you (you know who you are!) will consider coming this year and giving it a try. Eric Heideman is an EXCELLENT program director and I know he also has a very talented staff working with him this year, as every year. You may know some of his programming tracks from CONvergence and/or anywhere Kruschenko's is found. Diversicon, in fact, is kind of like a larger version of Kruschenko's, so if you've enjoyed that, you'll LOVE Diversicon.

I also heard that it's not too late to sign up to attend, and, possibly with some begging, get on a programming panel or two (although don't hold me to that last one, as Diversicon IS next weekend.)

Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that no one read my last post in the wrong light. I adore Diveriscon and I'm extremely honored and grateful to have been given an opportunity to be a guest there, especially when you look at the luminaries attending with me this year, and the caliber of people who have guested in the past. My only fault is that I think it's a shame that more people don't go. So, dang it, come this year! You'll be impressed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mark your Calendar!

I don't have my list of appearances yet, but I wanted to remind everyone that Diveriscon (guest of honor, includes among others, *moi*) is NEXT WEEKEND (July 29 - 31).


On Thursday, July 28, the Speculations Readings Series presents a discussion: “Dark Descents, Ascending Wonders: The Worlds of Speculative Fiction” featuring DAVID G. HARTWELL, LYDA MOREHOUSE, and JOHN CALVIN REZMERSKI. See the Diversicon 19 Guests page for more about these three authors. The event will take place 6:30-7:30pm at DreamHaven Books, 2301 E. 38th St., Minneapolis.

Please, please, please, PLEASE come to Diversicon. It's a tiny little con, and, in all honesty I'm a little worried about being stuck there without someone as cool as YOU to talk to.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vampires A-Z

B&N sent me this via Twitter: A is for Arterial Spray: Vampires A-Z.

It's illustrated.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sick Kids and Conventions

Since I was feeling so sick yesterday, I took the day off as a day of rest. I may do the same today because sleeping seems to have done wonders. My nose is still drippy, but I feel quite a bit recovered. Mason is still low energy, which is very disconcerting for a boy who usually talks a mile a minute while dancing the entire time. He's in the other room streaming episodes of "Shaun the Sheep" from Netflix, and he seems to be giggling a bit more like normal, thank goodness.

One thing I managed to do yesterday is talk to the CONvergence folks. I had thought I was going to be out of town this weekend, so I cancelled all my appearances some time ago. I emailed them asking about day passes, and, they very kindly (as I am a confirmed guest for next year) offered to print out a badge for me to pick up at registration any time. They also, quite AMAZINGLY, even said they could find programming for me, if I'd like, but I declined. I mean, CONvergence is seriously imminent and that seemed a bit too demanding diva, even for me. Besides, I'd like the freedom to just come and go as I please. I can't remember the last time I just attended a con, so it might make a nice change.

So maybe I'll see some of you there?

With any luck, I will be a yellow belt when next you see me -- although the test is later in the evening on Saturday, so maybe not.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Stuff to Do!

Just a little self-promotion today. Check out SF Signal's Mind Meld. My alter ego is part of a group discussing "What cultures are neglected by SF/F?" today.

Otherwise, it being Wednesday, is my day to write with Eleanor over at the Coffee Grounds. I've got a ton of things on my plate. I'm super behind on the new Tate novel (the cow mutilation one), I've got a short story that's popping out despite the bigger deadline, AND my agent needs some proposals for new books ASAP.

As Shawn and I like to say: STUFF TO DO!

My only other news is that I submitted a reprint to Fantasy Magazine. I still can not find even a paper copy of "Twelve Traditions" in the basement (did it go to the archive??) so I was forced to send fantasy instead. (The horror!) Anyway, fingers crossed.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I just approved the cover copy to the paperback edition of TALL, DARK & DEAD which will be coming out from Berkley Sensation in April 2012. No word yet if they plan to update the cover. I'm of two minds about this. I think the cartoon image is a little dated, but I've always thought it was very striking, so I can't decide what I'd prefer: new or old? I guess it would depend on what they offer up for new, eh?

Okay, got to go!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blinded By My Own Awesome

At ten o'clock last night, I sent off my revisions for Ana #3. Despite feeling like my editor was a moron for at least a week, I'm happy to say I'm over that. Her suggestions, I'm forced to admit, very likely made this a much better book.

Now, I SHOULD be working on the book that's due in a matter of weeks. I'm so far behind on that one, though, that I'm going to spend the remainder of the week working on a NEW short story idea that's been kicking around in my head.

The other thing I did last night was throw myself around like a rag doll at the kuk sool wan super seminar, or, as I like to call it, Jedi Academy. We did the MOST awesome thing where we did what I call a flying roll (really just a front roll from a dead run) over a staff, which we picked up on the way over and defended against an instructor weilding a lightsaber, er, I mean, bamboo practice sword.

It was f**king AWESOME.

I have never had so much fun in my life, while in so much pain. (Oh, and Dr. Arugala, my asthma medicine totally works! I took it beforehand and, for the first time since developing exercise induced asthma I had a stitch in my side without a corresponding coughing fit.) Also, I'm ridiculously proud of myself for learning the "flying roll" since at my level (still white belt, yellow stripe) I'm only supposed to know how to do it from a kneeling position. Additionally, I'm pleased that I only managed to screw up on my the very last of my last roll when I forgot to go over my shoulder and totally crunched my neck. I've been stretching the sore muscle and slathering on muscle stuff, and this morning it's stiff but not unbearably messed up. Yay!

I am a Jedi!!!

(Apprentice... but still!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dummmy dumb from Dumbville

I need to get to work on my revisions, but first I have to rant about my own stupidity. I was looking at fiction markets for a friend, and I noticed that there were a few that will take reprints and I started thinking, "What do I have that I could consider sending in?" My mind went back to my very first published science fiction story, "Twelve Traditions" which appeared in the May issue of SF AGE (now defunct.) I have about two zillion paper copies of the magazine because, as I mentioned, it was my first EVA professionally published short story (technically I'd sold "Irish Dreams" to Dreams of Decadance, but at the time that mag was considered semi-pro.)

Do I have an electronic copy of that story anywhere?

Oh, sure, one of those little square disk-thingies probably has a version of it, but do I have one on any media I can ACTUALLY READ!!!????


The ironic part of this? I should know better. My partner can laugh right into my face when she reads this. Shawn, if you don't know, is an electronic records specalist (among her many duties at the Minnesota Historical Society) and I've listened to her practice her talks about migration and all the things you need to do in order to keep your files readable in the future.

I should also note that my made-of-awesome archivist partner DOES, in point of fact, have CDs which we can still read on our tower computer that have back-ups of all my writing files from as far back as September 2001. Given that the short story I'm looking for was published in 1999, I had hope that I would have kept an electronic copy of it... but no. So all the blame falls squarely on my shoulder. In fact, I can very easily see me saying to myself, "Well, this is in print now. Why would I ever need another copy of it?"

I have a partial of it on my lyda morehouse website, but not the whole thing. I think one of my weekend projects after I finish my revisions and do some more work on the NEW short story I've been plotting, is to sit down with the magazine and re-key the damn thing.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Skype and the Life

I may have fixed Skype. I need to test it on a real person, however, so I'll wait and see when my dad comes online again today. Of course, I mostly ignored all the wonderful advice everyone gave, and, instead, followed their on-line help instructions. Weirdly, it did seem as though my microphone may have been turned way down (in the control board of my laptop, not, as I had been looking on Skype), or, possibly even completely muted. This does NOT explain why this happened on Shawn's computer, unless somehow her setting got changed, too. So, I may still have to do all the things you folks suggested so I've saved them all in my inbox.

I'll let you all know how it goes.

In the meantime, I've nearly finished my revisions for Ana #3. I just have a bit more to do today, though, of course, what remains are actually the critical final scenes. I probably could have pushed through them last night, but I was tired after a full kuk sul wan class AND Mason's honest to goodness class _assignment_ to go outside and play for at least 20 minutes. We played bat and ball for twice as long as was required, though that was interrupted by meeting our across-the-alley neighbor Ken. He seems nice, though it's always awkward to meet someone for the first time when they're literally half-naked. He's a middle aged white guy with a paunch who was gardening shirtless. :-)

At any rate, I should probably get to it, though, with this weather (cool and breezy) all I really want to do is curl up next to a warm kitty and nap. Ah, the life of writer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Science and Vampires

Vampire myths debunked.

Gryffindor, You Tease!

I love this summer so far. I managed to miss the 103 degree day, and have been shamelessly enjoying the cool breeze which, for me at least, makes for a good night's sleep. Last night, I opened the window and snuggled under a comforter. It was awesome. Of course, I also dreamed I was Ron Weasley, so that might have contributed to the joy.

I think, btw, that my subconscious is trying to tell me to stop ignoring the truth: I'm probably a Gryffindor, deep in my heart. I'll deny it, you know. Slytherin House needs someone like me. Someone gregarious and likable, heroic, yet deeply ambitious and a little dark. As my astrological chart says of my Mercury in Scorpio, "Your mind is deep, but rarely charitable."

Anyway, today is the day that, hopefully, I finish the revisions on Ana #3 (aka ALMOST EVERYTHING). Once I got over my inital reaction of, "Gah! My editor hates me! She's gutted the book!" (which, I should try to remember, happens to me every time, it's sort of like how I feel every time I get a rejection for a short story,) I discovered that the revisions aren't nearly as major as I feared. Luckily, my family was a bunch of duds last night and went to bed at 8:30 pm, which left me several hours to plow through pages. I got to about 175 or so, which is half way or nearly so. There is going to be more to do the closer I get to "THE END," but I'm hopeful the next several chapters will be as smooth saling as the previous ones.

Speaking of short stories, I've been continuing my podcast kick. I've listened to almost everything Lightspeed currently has on offer that seemed even remotely up my alley, and have moved into Fantasy (though I really prefer SF) as well, as checking out what's on offer over at PodCastle and EscapePod. I think I could listen a story a day for a thousand years, which is kind of nice. That's a bit of an exaggeration, of course, but I *am* seriously pleased how much stuff seems to be out there. Next time you see me at a convention, I'll be full of it. I mean I'll be full of knowledge of the short story field... yeah, that's it. ;-)

Speaking of science fiction, I just tried to Skype my dad. Any of you technically savvy people out there know why it is that my computer isn't transmitting sound?? I can see and hear my dad just great. He can see me, but not hear me. What's really, REALLY weird is that it doesn't seem to matter which computer I use. We have Skype set up on my computer and Shawn's and neither one wants to work, despite the fact that we've used it successfully in the past (I even talked to a friend who is in Korea!) I wonder if it isn't our 4G network. We've had to move it around to try to get a good signal, and maybe it no longer has the juice to connect us... anyway, if any of you folks know what might be up, I'd love a tutorial. It's so much fun to see my dad when I talk. It solves a problem I've always had with the phone, which is I'm not much of a chatter when I don't get visual cues.

Anyway, I should get back to work. I really want to finish up the revisions, because I've been kicking around a short story idea in my head. I've told myself, however, that I can't work on the short story unless I do some novel work first.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Revisions and Life

Now I'm freezing. WTF, Minnesota! Is this the welcome home I get?

Actually, it's perfect. Thank you. I'm enough of a Minnesotan that I'd much rather have cold than hot.

I'm starting _official_ revisions for ALMOST EVERYTHING (aka Ana #3) today. Official in this context means in accordance with the editorial letter sent by Penguin. Along with a letter I get an electronic copy of my manuscript with my editor's comments sprinkled throughout. This is a nice chance from the editorial letters back "in the day" when I got an eleven (or longer) page email with things like, "on page 127, in the sentence that begins 'blah, blah...' please add more information about your economic system" or whatever. I like the new system because there's a lot less hunting and pecking AND my editor will spontaneously also add a comment that says, "Ooh, love this!" or "Great line!" which I almost never saw before because of the effort it took to single those out.

This time I'm struggling a bit because a point I wanted to make about marriage isn't working for my editor. I had written a betrothal between two guy vampires that ends in a very cold, politically arranged marriage. This isn't a gay marriage, because these guys barely know each other. Love isn't a factor, as, I had wanted it pointed out, it rarely was before the modern era. The marriage in my novel was depicted very much as an exchange of property between two kings. Or rather, more accurately, the offer of a military captain's "hand in marriage" in exchange for a peace treaty. The sort of thing that, you know, happened all the time in the past (and probably still happens all around the world today), except with a gender blindness in this case because there's no need for heirs as the two parties are immortal vampires.

I think the problem is that this is a very ALIEN concept to modern readers. It also is really, really hard for romantic readers to even imagine the hero (who has been a love interest for our heroine) agreeing to a loveless union of any sort, even though I tried throughout the manuscript to hammer on his overactive sense of duty and loyal commitment to his king and kingdom.

So I may end up calling their arrangement something other than marriage. Of course, this is going to retrospectively shed some interesting light on the situation Ana thought she was in with the guy _she_ was previously betrothed to (since a futher entanglement is, of course, that this is book #3 and I can hardly go back and search and replace the word "betrothed" in books that have already come out.) It may be kind of interesting to write that scene where she discovers that "betrothal" means something else entirely to vampires and it wasn't nearly as romantic as she thought. Although, she became betrothed under unusual circumstances and I could probably write in a retrofit to explain why her's *is* that romantic and why this other one is not.

It's messy to say the least, and it kind of bums me out because I kind of enjoyed the simplicity of history -- that is to say, I liked the challenge I posed to modern readers having to deal with this cold, ugly marriage that is at the root of what marriage STILL is -- exchange of property and contractual obligations.

Ah well. That was probably too complicated for a teen novel anyway. (WINKING! Yes, I read the WSJ article and I totally agree with Jackie Kessler in this matter.)

Of course, it may just be that I didn't make my point clear enough, which is what my editor is LIKELY complaining about more than anything.

In a few minutes, I need to save my progress and get my haircut. It's gotten incredibly shaggy.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Your Brain On Love

An article about the science of love. It's actually mostly about antidepressents and what they do to people in love, but the _why_ is geekily interesting.

I Must Be Reading the Wrong Books

Now romance novels are, according to this, as addictive as porn. Seriously, kids?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Serious Question

I'm terrible about keeping this blog up-to-date partly because at some point I decided that I should write about things on this site that had MOSTLY to do with writing and/or publishing. Frankly, I find it hard to think about writing that much, uh, especially when I have a lot of writing to do. (hmmmmm.)

But in all seriousness, I'm thinking that I may go back to posting mundane bits about my life here (which may mean a lot of cutting and pasting from my alter ego's LJ, but, which would at least keep this blog current, which is MUCH better than what I have been doing, aka NOTHING.)

But, I've been wondering, in general, do people still blog? Do people still read blogs? I suspect most people are hanging out in various social media, like Twitter and Facebook and foursquare and "whatever it is you kids are into these days."

I hate to ask questions into the void of deafening silence, but: what do you think?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Geek Pride!

According to Wikipedia, today is Geek Pride Day!

So, my friends in geekdom, tell me your plans to get your geek on!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ana #3 Art!

My Februaruy 2012 release ALMOST EVERYTHING can haz cover art. Check it out:


The back copy says:

Whoever said vacations were relaxing?

To say half-vampire, half-witch Ana Parker has boy trouble is putting it lightly—something her text messaging bill can attest to. Her rocker ex-boyfriend Nikolai is trying to heat things up again, and high school hockey star Mathew wants her to try out with him for the Renaissance Festival. At least her sort-of boyfriend Elias isn’t hounding her cell—considering the vampire knight is currently living in her basement.

Ever since her father banished Elias and Ana from the court of the Northern vampires, Ana has been trying to live a normal life. But when the Prince of the Southern Region vampires informs Ana that they’re on the brink of war and she accidentally offers up Elias as a peace offering, the princess knows that she’s going to need some help to get out of the situation.

With Ana’s boy drama meter hitting an all time high, summer in St. Paul is heating up for all the wrong reasons…

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ana #3

Just a quick note to let folks know that there will be an Ana #3. It's scheduled to come out in February 2012.

I also can haz back cover copy:

Whoever said vacations were relaxing?

To say half-vampire, half-witch Ana Parker has boy trouble is putting it lightly—something her text messaging bill can attest to. Her rocker ex-boyfriend Nikolai is trying to heat things up again, and high school hockey star Mathew wants her to try out with him for the Renaissance Festival. At least her sort-of boyfriend Elias isn’t hounding her cell—considering the vampire knight is currently living in her basement.

Ever since her father banished Elias and Ana from the court of the Northern vampires, Ana has been trying to live a normal life. But when the Prince of the Southern Region vampires informs Ana that they’re on the brink of war and she accidentally offers up Elias as a peace offering, the princess knows that she’s going to need some help to get out of the situation.

With Ana’s boy drama meter hitting an all time high, summer in St. Paul is heating up for all the wrong reasons…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Toot! Toot!

That's the sound of me tooting my own horn, but I just *had* to. Check out this AWESOME review for my alter-ego's book RESURRECTION CODE on (by Alyx Dellamonica): A Necessary Apocalypse.


Monday, May 09, 2011

New E-Book!

Wyrdsmith Naomi Kritzer has published a new collection of her short stories on Kindle. This one, Comrade Grandmother and Other Stories, includes the title story which is one of my personal favorites. It was originally published in Strange Horizons and then was picked up for Year's Best Fantasy.

She's blogged about her process of making this Kindle book on her livejournal, You can start with this post and go backwards.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Local (and At Large) Signing

If you're in the Twin Cities area, please drop by on Saturday (May 7) to see me at Uncle Hugo's from 1:00 - 2:00 pm.

I'm going to say it again, though I can count how many times I mention this, and people still say, "Sorry! I don't live near you!!" -- Uncle Hugo's does book orders. What this means is, if you want a personalized, signed copy, you can contact them before Saturday and I will sign it FOR YOU and they will send it TO YOU no matter where you live.

Yes, even there!

Why consider placing a mail order? For several reasons. 1) It's nice to support independent, locally-owned, brick and mortar bookstores, generally. Specifically, Uncle Hugo's is one of the oldest science fiction/fantasy specialty bookstores in existence. AND they're always super-duper supportive of me and my work. 2) It will boost my sales at the bookstore and possibly get me on the LOCUS bestseller list. More importantly, it will encourage the fine folks at Uncle Hugo's to invite me back! 3) A signed book is kind of cool. It takes no more time to order from Uncles than it does to order from 4) I'm not a big star. This means I will NOT be coming to your state any time in the foreseeable future, unless I win the lottery and decide to book the venues MYSELF. So, this is one way to actually get a signed book from me.

Have I convinced you? I hope so!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Shameless Selfless Promotion

Just so's ya know, I might talk smack about my fellow writers, but, at the end of the day, we're the same tribe, dig?

To that end, I'm pleased to announce that my friend and fellow writer, Kelly McCullough's newest series' first book is available for pre-order on It's called Broken Blade. How shall I describe it? It's awesome, first off, but you should expect that from anything by Kelly. It fantasy, but it's noir, kind of like "Burn Notice" meets Thieves' World... only even better.

So, go bookmark it. I know you spent your money for new books on me yesterday, but you should consder buying it ASAP.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

ALMOST #2 Launch!

Today is the official launch date of the second book in my vampire princess of St. Paul series, ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN.

The back cover copy says:

Craving the spotlight is in her blood.

Ever since high school student Anastasija Parker discovered she was vampire royalty, her life has been sort of crazy. The half-vampire- half-witch just wants some normalcy, and trying out for the spring musical seems like the perfect fix.

But when the ancient talisman that stands between vampire freedom and slavery to witches is stolen, Ana has to skip rehearsal and track down the dangerous artifact before someone uses it to make this year's curtain call her last...

And, you can read the first chapter here:

--- And this just in: an interview with the Booki3

Monday, May 02, 2011

Books and Ducks

I guess that "wild" birdseed really worked, eh?

This morning we woke up to these two visitors to our front yard. I took this picture through the front window, which is why it's a bit blurry. I didn't want to disturb the drake (though you can see how closely he's watching me, anyway.) They may be considering nesting near the nearby Iris Park fountain, though that hasn't been turned on for the season yet. Perhaps they're considering the little pond by the old folks home? Who knows. It's not very usual for us to see ducks in the neighborhood, though a couple (this pair) did stop by several times many years ago to our neighbor's yard, because I think she, too, like us had a mix high in cracked corn, which the ducks seem extraordinarily fond of.

Don't forget to buy ALMOST TO DIE FOR tomorrow, if you're so inclined! My big plan for this gray day is to get started on my next adult novel, PRECINCT 13. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Interview with Amberkatze

Check out Amberkatze's Book Blog for an interview with me!

And don't forget! On Tuesday Almost Final Curtain officially goes on sale!

Also, I just heard some sort-of bad news from my agent. I turned in three proposals for new Ana books, which my editor had requested. HOWEVER, she's going to sit on her decision about whether to buy more based on how well the early sales of ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN are. The bad news about this is that it means the sales for #1 weren't strong enough to automatically greenlight the continuation of the series. So, if you want more books in the Ana series -- please, please consider buying the book within the first couple weeks of #2's release.

Having been burned by series ending prematurely before, at least I wrapped a tidy bow on #3. So, if that ends up being the last book, should feel intentional.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Friend's New Book!

A very dear friend and awesome writer, Naomi Kritzer, has a new book out. It's an e-book collection of some of her short stories called: Gift of the Winter King and Other Stories. Currently, it's only available for the Kindle, but she has plans to put it into other e-formats in the near future. I've always been a huge fan of Naomi and her novels, like Fires of the Faithful and Turning the Storm among others, but Naomi is a phenomenal short story writer. You should check out this collection.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Calling All Minnesotan Artsy-Farts

I have always said that Minnesota is one of the most awesome places to be a writer because _so_ many people in this state are engaged in creative expression of one kind or another. Well, the Minnesota State Arts Board is conducting a survey with the intention of figuring out just how creative this state really is! If you are at all involved in the arts, please take a moment to fill out the MN Arts Count.

You do NOT need to be making money in the arts to fill this out. There's one question about how much of your living you make from your creative work, but ZERO is an option. Also, they don't expect you to have only one interest/talent. You can fill in up to six specialities.

It's also super-short. I think there's no more than six or seven questions total.

Monday, April 11, 2011

More about Me

Tracy S. Morris interviews me at her blog:

I talk as both my personas, though I start out talking about my alter-ego's newest release.

In other exciting news, I'm just putting the finishing touches on the basically-final draft of Ana #3, which I will be sending off to my publisher on (or before) April 15 (tax day!)

Not to be confused with #2, ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, which will be coming out in May. #3, ALMOST EVERTHING, will come out in February of 2012. We've got back cover copy for that already, so if you'd like a little teaser, here's what you can expect from #3:

Whoever said vacations were relaxing?

To say half-vampire, half-witch Ana Parker has boy trouble is putting it lightly—something her text messaging bill can attest to. Her rocker ex-boyfriend Nikolai is trying to heat things up again, and high school hockey star Mathew wants her to try out with him for the Renaissance Festival. At least her sort-of boyfriend Elias isn’t hounding her cell—considering the vampire knight is currently living in her basement.

Ever since her father banished Elias and Ana from the court of the Northern vampires, Ana has been trying to live a normal life. But when the Prince of the Southern Region vampires informs Ana that they’re on the brink of war and she accidentally offers up Elias as a peace offering, the princess knows that she’s going to need some help to get out of the situation.

With Ana’s boy drama meter hitting an all time high, summer in St. Paul is heating up for all the wrong reasons…

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I am such a weirdo.

I think that pretty sums up everything you might need to know about me, but I was thinking specifically of the fact that, unlike almost every other writer I know, I ADORE the revision process. I think it's the sense of accomplishment I get while I'm going through each page. In front of me today is a big pile of paper. It's a completed (if somewhat flawed) story. I don't have to figure out how it's going to end any more. It's written. I may, in point of fact, need to utterly CHANGE the ending for the novel to actually be any good, but I have a spare, you know?

I like that feeling. A lot.

Even though I know that when I get through this round of revisions another one is on its heels (or waiting in the wings and other such metaphors) -- around and around until publication.

But, you know, I've taken my first stab at it. I hit something. Now I just have to make sure my aim is true and I hit home.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


If you missed me last night, check out the "Write On Radio" show last night: I'm actually the first guest for once so you don't have to wait!

I always feel really stupid doing these things, but my partner tells me I came off much smarter than I felt. I do rather focus on Resurrection Code as it's the most recent release, but the host and I get around to talking about vampires and even bring up Whedonistas! the other book project I was involved in through Mad Norwegian Press.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Also, since LJ is Down

I want to post a few pictures of my cute kid at a Hogwarts themed birthday party this weekend. Here's my little wizard on our porch.

Now, he's about to get bespelled by "Hermione" (really our friend Ava):

I went to the party dressed as Tonks. If you don't remember her, she's the Auror who falls in love with the werewolf, Remus Lupin, and who can change her hair color and other facial features. The costume for her was easy, since all I really had to do was spray my hair pink and find my old leather jacket. Coincidentally, the last time I wore that leather jacket we were in London. I found train tickets from Gatwick to Victoria Station in the pocket. Cool, huh?


Sorry to be so shameless with my self-promotion, but I would like y'all to know that I'm going to be a guest tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 5) on the "Write On Radio" show on KFAI (90.3 FM Minneapolis/106.7 FM St. Paul) from 7:00 - 8:00 pm Central Time. If you're not local and want to listen as it's happenin', you can stream it at

Even if you can't listen in, say, because you might be attending a reading/signing of fellow Wyrdsmith Douglas Hulick at B&N at the same time, you can check out the archives at the next morning. I'll try to remember to post a link here on Wednesday morning.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Date Night for the Vampire Princess

I won't tell you with who Ana is going on a date (because it's kind of a spoiler for Book #3), but they're headed out to Kurdish food. So I'm writing about Babani's Restaurant in downtown St. Paul:

Hmmm, now all of a sudden I'm hungry for lunch!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Uh... WHATever...

Sorry to be all about my alter-ego lately, but I (as her) am the featured "Big Idea" over at John Scalzi's enormously popular Whatever Blog. Ironically, I so deeply nervous about this post that I kind of hope no one reads it -- though that kind of defeats the whole point....

I am hoping to continue to blog (with pictures!) about the places around St. Paul that are featured in my Ana books. Just last night I wrote a brief scene that happened outside of this St. Paul landmark:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Places I'm Writing About -- Ax Man and Porky's

One of my seekrit agendas when I proposed the vampire princess of St. Paul books, was to feature various cool locations around St. Paul. Minneapolis has been written about extensively. When I was in college, I devoured Emma Bull's WAR FOR THE OAKS. The book was especially cool because I could drive past places where events in the novel took place. I've always wanted to do that with much much less celebrated St. Paul.

I live not far from Ax Man on University Avenue. Despite what my friend Ember used to think, they don't sell axes there -- not the wood chopping kind nor the musical variety. They just sell... weird stuff. It's actually very difficult to explain what you might find inside Ax Man. The University Avenue store, for instance has an iron lung and paper clips and tires and... weird stuff. It's whatever they get that's been remaindered or "surplus." In other words cool junk.

Unfortunately, Ana doesn't go IN to Ax Man in the current novel. It makes an appearance as a landmark to another University Avenue destination.... Porky's.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stuff I'm Up To

First of all, Happy St. Patrick's day for those of you who celebrate it!

I thought I'd drop a quick note to remind all y'all of the various places you can catch me doing my publicity thing.

This weekend, Saturday, March 19 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm, I'll be teaching my "Mars Needs Writers" workshop at the Bloomington Art Fair's "Writer's Workshop."

On Tuedsay, March 22, in my guise as Lyda Morehouse, I will be the featured "Big Idea" author at John Scalzi's Whatever Blog.

Saturday, March 26 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm, again as Lyda, I'll be signing the newly released Resurrection Code at Uncle Hugo's. Uncle's is located at 2864 Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis, but, even if you're not local, it's not too late to put in a mail order with Don for a personalized, signed copy from me! Check out details about Uncles at:!

Then in a bit of multiple personality shuffling, I will be both Lyda and Tate during an interview on KFAI's "Write On Radio" show on Tuesday, April 5 from 7:00 - 8:00 pm CDT. KFAI broadcasts at 90.3 FM Minneapolis/106.7 FM in St. Paul. If you want to listen in even though you are in another time zone, you can check out for live, streaming options and/or their archives which are usually updated the very next day.

In case you can't make ANY of those other dates, I as Tate will also have a signing at Uncles on Saturday, May 7 from 1:00-2:00 pm.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Free Words Tuesday!

Mouse fiction over at my alternate personality's LJ: Mouse 6

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Mouse Tuesday

I'm committing fiction over on my LJ.

As I'm one of those people who takes great comfort in working during stressful periods, I actually wrote this little section while waiting for the cardiologist to tell us what was going on with my partner's "failed" stress test.*

I was thinking about this as I wrote it, because mood affects writing. I suspect this scene would have be a lot scarier, if I wasn't already overloaded on that particular emotion. I don't buy into the myth that you have to be in the right "mood" to write, but I *do* think that where you are emotionally creeps into what you write.

See if you agree.

* Everything seems to be okay. We probably got a false positive reading, though we're scheduled to go back and take a "stress echo" today sometime just to make sure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kids and Writing (the Plus Side)

Just want to note that, while there are a lot of panels out there in the SF/F community about the struggle of writing with kids, there are some bonuses too. Mason is sitting across from me at the Coffee Grounds reading the advance review copy of ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN giggling. This is his third time through (and he tells me, it's not his favorite. He still likes ALMOST TO DIE FOR better.)

Also, last night as I was trying to write while watching TV (a bad idea, btw,) he poked his head in a couple of times to read over my shoulder. He kept asking me, excitedly, what was happening and what would be coming next.

I know that it's a little like having your mom like your writing, but it's still cool. And some days, it's enormously satisfying to live with one of my greatest fans.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Fiction

My alter ego is posting new science fiction over at her LJ, as part of the continuing effort to get people excited about RESURRECTION CODE, which will be coming out from Mad Norwegian Press on March 15, 2011.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Signing Update!

Breaking News: I will now be sharing my March 26th signing at Uncle Hugo's with Neve Maslakovic. I already want to love her book REGARDING DUCKS AND UNIVERSES, for this line in the product description: "On a foggy Monday in 1986, the universe suddenly, without warning, bifurcated."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Tuesday...

...which means my alter ego has some free pre-prequel fiction on offer over on her LJ.

In case you missed the previous installments you can read them in order:

Mouse 1

Mouse 2

Enjoy! In case you are tuning in for the first time, let me explain. I write science fiction under another name. I had four books published in what I called the AngeLINK series. The books take place in a relatively near future where, thanks to a devastating world war, science has fallen out of favor and religions of all stripes have become even more dominant in politics than they are today. My books start in America, but span the entire globe. One of the characters that a lot of people really enjoyed was an Egyptian Sunni Muslim computer hacker named Mouse. The prequel follows his story. But there are also angels, devils, ghosts and mutants called Gorgons in it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why Science Fiction is Cool

Ten years ago, my alter ego published a book in which I imagined something not unlike this. Fellow Wyrdsmith, Naomi Kritzer, saw this article and forwarded it to me with the subject line "Egyptians invent" Of course, that didn't EXACTLY happen, and certainly no one has a LINK receiver in their head, BUT I love that most of the technology being offered is actually a low-tech solution to a high-tech problem. That's totally the sort of thing I wrote about, and, as Naomi said, "If Mouse had been born yet and, of course, weren't fictional, he's be all over this."

I totally agree.

Go Egypt!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Signing Event(s)

I got a call last night from Don Byly at Uncle Hugo's in Minneapolis and we've arranged not on, but TWO signings for me (and my alter ego) in the upcoming months. Mark your calendars because here they are:

Saturday, March 26, 2011 from 1 - 2 pm at Uncle Hugo's, my alter-ego will be signing RESURRECTION CODE, the long-awaited prequel/sequel to her AngeLINK series.

Saturday, May 7, 2011 from 1 - 2 pm I'll be back again, this time as me, signing ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, the second book in the vampire princess of St. Paul book.

You can find Uncle's at 2864 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis MN 55407. If you would like directions or any other information about the signing or the store, you can call (612) 824-6347. Also, if you are out of town or otherwise can not make the events and would like to still get a PERSONALIZED, signed copy, Uncles will fill mail orders. For information contact Don Byly at

You can also check out Uncle Hugo's website for more info at:

Got that? Good! I expect you there!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Free Words from Alternate Me

Today is Tuesday, which means that I'm posting the continuing saga of Mouse in a series of pre-prequel vingettes over on Lyda's LJ.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Boosting the Signal

Because I'm that person who talks to everyone, I had an interesting conversation with a virtual stranger today at the coffee shop. It came up that I'm a writer and she asked me a question very few people ask. She said, "Is that a good job? Do you like it?"

I told her the truth. My job is the best damn job EVER.

One of the perks that never occurred to me when I was first starting out was the free books. Two good friends of mine have asked if I'd be willing to blurb their babies, and I'm always happy to say yes, even though I'm always baffled that *my* name could actually contribute to any book's success (given what little help it's given my OWN work.) At any rate, I got to read a novel/la by my friend Keith Hartman. It's being published by Pyramid Press and it's called MURDER BENEATH THE BURIED SKY. Here's the Kindle edition. Narf it up. It's cheap (3.99!), and it's AWESOME. I don't want to give too much away, but I found it to be very a engaging science fiction murder mystery. Did you like that section in the HUNGER GAMES series when Gale and Katniss are at District 13, underground? Well, this is like that, only better.

Go read it. I swear you won't be disappointed. Plus, it's going to take you like two hours to read the whole thing. It's that kind of book that pulls you in and you wake up when it's all over and think, "dang, that was great."

Anyway, speaking of writing. I must go do my own. Alas!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Alter Ego Promo

My alter ego has a new book out in March from Mad Norwegian Press, and as part of that she is posting some pre-prequel promo fiction vingettes on her LJ. If you're curious about what I write when I'm not writing Garnet or Ana, check it out. It is not entirely safe for work (there is one instance of the f-word under the LJ cut.) However, it is my intention that you do not need to have read any of the previous books in the AngeLINK series to understand and enjoy these free stories or RESURRECTION CODE when it comes out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

5 Things

K.M. Walton has this to say about 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Queried. Not sure all of it applies to genre writing, but I like what s/he has to say about the power of a good critique group.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Erotica... Sadly, No.

I haven't done much of anything this morning other than sneeze. I don't quite know what happened, but I didn't just have an allergy attack... it was some kind of ambush!!

But my eyes and nose are starting to recover, I think. And, I did manage to get two other things done.

1) The dishes. This was a rather monumental feat, as we had a full-on Sunday dinner yesterday, including a roasted chicken, gravy, fried potatoes, beans, and a salad. I think I pretty much used all the dishes in the house, especially since I'd made scones earlier for breakfast. While I was doing said dishes I got a call from the folks at Mad Norwegian. They had just one more thing for me to look at...

So, I downloaded the file and 2) I went over the final proof of the short story included in RESURRECTION CODE, "Ishtartu." After having re-read that I have to say that there is absolutely NO HOPE of me having a lucrative side-career as an erotica writer. It's actually not a bad short story (which, again, is not one of my stronger suits), but there's not a lot of sizzle. There's sex, and, you know, I spell some of it out, but it's actually quite *sweet.* You could actually read it out loud at a late-night reading, because, while *I* might blush at some of the words, there's actually not that much that even happens on stage. Much of it is left to the imagination.

It's kind of sad, really.

If only because I have this weird notion in my head that some day I'm just going give up on this hard stuff and write fun, "trashy" erotica. Yet, you'd think I'd remember that every time I sit down to write something I think will be fun and "easy," it's still writing, and writing is always hard. And, sadly, writing something good enough to be published still means I need to have character development, plot, etc., which is all that stuff I find "hard" about writing in the first place. And, frankly, writing graphic sex scenes really difficult for me. Oh, I can imagine them, no problem. Write them down? That's a bit harder. I'm easily embarrassed by committing the erotic things I imagine to print, and also, like any description, writing a good, graphic sex scene takes practice that I just don't really have yet... you need to know when to brush stroke and when to stroke stroke, you know? Gah! I just embarrassed myself!

You see the problem.

Anyway, I need to get writing on Ana. My cat, Ms. All Ball, has just curled herself, like a baby, against my chest, so I guess that means I'm stuck at the computer anyway. I might as well be constructive.

Friday, January 21, 2011

NSFW, but...

Kind of rude (NSFW), but kind of funny... at least from this side of the washed out bridge: "No, seriously, I'm not f*cking around, you really don't want to be a writer."

Thursday, January 20, 2011


It's Thursday, which is my busy day. I just finished the dishes, and pretty soon I'll have to tackle the fish tanks. Then, it will be off to Mason's school to volunteer. After that, if I have any energy, I hope to go work out, as I've had to miss kuk sool wan one night this week. Ah, the glamorous life of a writer, eh?

Speaking of writing work, I finished going through the page proofs for RESURRECTION CODE over the weekend, and I should probably look through ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN before the deadline. Sometimes I have a really hard time looking at my own writing, especially after it's all typeset for printing. There's something so permanent that makes it sort of scary, you know? There's really not a lot you can do at the page proof stage either. There are plenty of opportunities for major change prior to that, but by the time you see page proofs, the publisher really only wants to you to scan for typos.

So, I've been dragging my heels a bit on the last one. RESURRECTION CODE was more fun, actually. There are some scenes in that book that I'm actually quite proud of and are fun to re-read. Even though enjoying my own work also makes me feel weird, but in a completely different way.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Contest Info

***** Permission to Forward Granted and Encouraged ******

Horizontal tango.

Roll in the hay.

Gild the lily.

Hanky panky.

Hippity dippity.

Knock boots.

Mattress mambo.


Whatever you call it, we’ll judge it.

Enter the Greater Detroit RWA’s 2011 Between the Sheets contest to see if your 10-page love scene explodes like a rocket or leaves the judges unsatisfied.

Rules, forms and final round judges are at Entry fee is $25Deadline is February 14, 2011.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Generation of Fan

A couple of nights ago, and I don't quite remember how it started, I ended up telling Mason about an incredibly charming character that my friend and fellow writer Eleanor Arnason created for her Lydia Duluth short story series named "Three Hoots." Alas, the story "Three Hoots" appears in hasn't been published yet, but Mason has been at the coffee shop with Eleanor when she was struggling with the plot of that exact story. Anyway, it's been marvelous to hear Mason running around the house shouting, "Fierce! Fierce! Many bodies in the shadows, ready to defend!" (which is a paraphrase, but close to some of the dialogue in the story.) At any rate, I knew I had some Lydia stories arounds, so he read all of "Tomb of the Fathers" and pronounced it, "nearly as cool as Harry Potter." So, I spend a few minutes this morning searching my house of the rest of the series. I found Asimov issues that contained "Cloud Man," "Lifeline" and "Moby Quilt," but couldn't locate my copy of "Stellar Harvest" to save my soul! Hopefully, Eleanor will have an extra copy she can loan us. Mason is quite determined to read the Lydia ouevre. I'm sure he could read the other stories out of order, but he's kind of stuck on reading "Stellar Harvest" first. I couldn't find a non-pirated version of "Stellar Harvest" on-line. Am I an idiot? If you know where one is, please send me the link.

Can I say, too, how amazing it is that I can share stories with Mason that, if he has some question about, he can just ask the author? It's super-cool amazing. I don't know if he realizes *just* how super-cool amazing that is. I mean, he's growing up in a house where his ima is a published writer, so I'm sure he kind of expects that anyone can be.

But it is one of those things I always remind my students. If someone as dorky as me can get published, there's a pretty good chance you can too. Not that it's an easy road, mind. Just that it's possible.

Friday, January 14, 2011

No, Don't Pull Your Punches, Really...

I don't really feel like writing today, especially since I read one of the WORST (as in harshest) reviews of ALMOST TO DIE FOR this morning on Red House Books. Check it out. I'm not saying it's unfair, it's just kind of brutal. It's never good, for instance, when the one thing the reviewer liked about the book is its cover. The one thing, in point of fact, I have zero control over.


I suppose it's better than saying they only liked the font... but wow. I think, too, one of the reasons that this review hit home for me is that, most of the time, I *know* when I've written a book that isn't my best. It's not something you're ever allowed to say out loud, and, you always kind of hope that no one else will notice. In fact, with ALMOST I've been quite taken aback by the fact that Publisher's Weekly liked this book enough to give it a starred review, when I personally believe EVERYTHING the reviewer at Red House had to say (before she said it.) I worked hard on the book, but I thought it was fairly deeply flawed from the beginning. And, you know, try as you might, not every book you write is going to be your best.

The Emperor, in case you wondered, has no clothes.

But, reading that first thing this morning kind of sucked the life out of my already fairly weak desire to work today. Alas.

Now don't feel compelled to tell me how awesome I am or run out and post "you're so wrong" over at Red House Books. Well, okay, you can tell me I'm awesome, but you know... don't harrass the reviewer. She's just expressing her honest opinion, which I actually respect. I post critical reviews of books by colleagues all the time. I think it's part of the deal I signed up for when I took on this writing gig.

It's all part of the life of a published writer. You get to take the good times (like finding out yesterday that ALMOST will be published in Chinese!) and you take the kicks in the teeth, too. I don't get mad when people honestly express their opinion of my work. It's sometimes demoralizing to read, but what can you do? If I could write a book that pleased everybody all of the time I'd be a best seller.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If I were a Boy...

If I were a boy, I would totally date Sir Ian McKellen. Plus, it would be weirdly sexy to call him "sir" in bed. The reason I say this, however, is not just because I'm perverse, but also because I watched "Neverwas" last night via Netflix. What a surprisingly good film. It was not the "thriller" it was advertised to be, but Shawn and I decided it was kind of like a psychological drama, rather than a psychological thriller. It was also kind of a fantasy, but not.

I can see what it wasn't exactly a blockbuster.

But, I really ended up liking it tremendously. The story is about a Christopher Robin/Christopher Tolkien type character, whose father wrote a massively famous epic fantasy/children's story in which, like the first example, he was the star of. The father, unlike either of my two examples, suffers from manic depression and ultimately kills himself. The son blames himself and has distanced himself from his father's work (the "Neverwas" of the title) as well as devotes himself to the study of psychology. He ends up back at his hometown on the 25th anniversary of his father's suicide and worms his way into a job at the very mental health facility that had unsuccessfully treated his dad. The mystery/fantasy part comes in when it starts to seem as if there is a very REAL possibility that Neverwas was a real place... there even seems to be photographic evidence suggesting this... and that Ian McKellen's character is its king.

The movie has a lot of very moving, subtle moments. Shawn didn't trust the ending to satisfy. In fact, she was so convinced it was going to be utterly tragic that she got up and got ready for bed ten minutes from the end telling me to let her know if it was okay and she'd only watch it if it was.

The ending was way more than okay. It was borderline "feel good." It satisfied me deeply, if I were to be perfectly honest. It wasn't quite dramatic enough to be a tearjerker, but I think that might be another reason it wasn't a huge blockbuster. Subtle isn't usually what people go to the movies for.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Promoting a Friend

One of the best part of being in a writers' group, IMHO, is the free coffee. I should explain that one of the things that my writers' group does to assuage jealousy/envy is that we strongly encourage our members to buy a round of coffee/drinks at our coffee shop when there are successes, like publishing stories or books or whatever.

Doing that helps makes it much easier for me to feel really PROUD of my colleagues. To that end, I'd like to point you to my friend and fellow writer, Douglas Hulick's new debut, AMONG THIEVES, which is currently available for pre-order on, and which he talks about in this lovely interview at Fantasy Faction: Interview with Douglas Hulick.

If you like BFFWM (Big, Fat, Fantasy with Maps), or even if you don't, but love a good character study and a rip-roaring adventure go out and buy this book. No, buy six.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

To Twitter or Not To Twitter...*

On Twitter, Victoria Strauss linked to an article from the LA Times that implies that social media doesn't work for retailers.

I think that may be entirely true for people selling cans of beans. Personally, I can't imagine following a promotional link from a twitter from JC Penny to buy socks or whatever at half price, though I could see how some people might. But I think that to say this is an argument for not bothering with social media as an author misunderstands how readers interact with authors (as opposed to booksellers) these days.

I have to admit to finding an author not only through Facebook, but also through silly videos of cats on YouTube. I actually went out and bought books by these two people after my interaction with them (or their cats) on-line.

And I don't think I'm the only one.

I think that an author, these days, is expected to be available for the consumer almost like a product him or herself. You like my blog? Try my book! This may seem crass, but we -- at least in the science fiction community -- should be used to the concept of this. It's really not unlike the idea of going to a convention and being on panels so people can get an idea of who you are. It's the same, only a lot more international (and a lot harder to stand out.)

Also, frankly, I'm glad retailers haven't figured out how to dominate Facebook and Twitter entirely yet. I'd like to keep my social media fairly social, and leave the ads elsewhere.

---- * reposted from Wyrdsmiths.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy Birthday Tolkien*

We decided on a whim over this vacation, on Friday, to start watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD. Mason wasn't interested at first, but got caught up when Aragorn fights the ring wraiths and Frodo gets stabbed. When Boromir dies we all wept like dogs, and Mason was totally hooked. After that, it kind of became a thing. We met upstairs in the afternoon and sat down to watch the next one. Which went along fine until Sunday night, when --right at the point when Frodo is stung by the giant spider queen, Shelob -- the DVD flaked. We washed it. We tapped the DVD player. But the disc would spin no more.

So began my quest.

I drove out to Target just up the street on University, but they didn't have it. I called Borders on University, but they only had "Two Towers" in Blueray. Moving northward, I tried Barnes & Noble at Har Mar, called HPB in Roseville, went to Best Buy, called the Borders in Roseville Mall... NO ONE had it.

The guy at Barnes & Noble thought that there might be a copy in Maplewood, but he wasn't sure. I was losing hope. Then, I remembered who I was. I am a proud geek, member of the nerd herd. I got the phone and started calling my friends. Someone that I know must be a fan of the LotRs enough to have a copy! Or at least, maybe they would know someone who knew someone. I mean, come on, this is fandom, I figured I was probably only seven degrees of seperation from Peter Jackson himself.

When I called around, my friend and fellow writer, Naomi Kritzer happened to be talking to friends who had a copy. I could meet them at their place and they would "but lend it to me." (Remember the scene in Fellowship with Boromir and Frodo? "If you would but lend it [the ring] to me...")


So we were able to watch the end last night. Now Mason is thinking we might do a "Harry Potter" with the Lord of the Rings -- which means read each book out loud and at the end of each book, watch the movie again. I'm totally up for that. I'd forgotten how much I loved the movies and how well I remember the first book. Speaking of fandom, it is my utter shame that I have, in point of fact, never read beyond Fellowship. What can I say? I was thirteen and dyslexic... still, I've always been embarrassed by this and usually deny it, if pressed.

Kind of cool, too, that today is J. R. R. Tolkien's birthday. It's almost like we planned this (only we didn't.)


Excerpted from my LJ.