Monday, December 31, 2012

It's Just Another New Year's Eve

This blog post is repeated every year on this day.

Here's what I'll be listening to when the clock strikes midnight, my own little tradition over the decades. Happy New Year to everyone.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

An Evening with Stephen King

I know this is a little different than my usual Saturday videos. I smurched the link from The Passive Voice. This is an appearance by Stephen King at UMass Lowell earlier this year. It's worth watching the whole thing for a brand new short story that Mr. King reads.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Little Green Monster

...and I don't mean Oscar the Grouch from Seseme Street.

It's all too easy to get caught up in what other writers have, be it sales, fans, offers, etc. In the long run, it does you no good dwelling on it. You become so bitter and jaded that no one wants to be around you, including your muse.

I know from whence I speak. When I started writing Zombie Love in November of 2005, I googled the title. Nothing, nada, zip came up. Then over the next few years as I pitched my story, agents and editors didn't want to touch it. A zombie as a romantic comedy heroine? Ple-e-e-ease.

Now? Now, we have zombies everywhere. Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Married with...Zombies, The Walking Dead and *drumroll* Warm Bodies: A Zombie Love Story.

I could get pissy and throw a tantrum about why my story, written way ahead of the others, didn't get choosen *gasp*. But it's a "moo" point as Joey from Friends would say. All I can do is keep writing because there are readers who do appreciate what I do.

And I'm not going to be jealous because Warm Bodies looks exactly like the kind of thing I'd want to watch--the whole reason I created Sam Ridgeway in the first place. Here's the first four minutes of Warm Bodies, which will be in theaters February 1st.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Loot!

What can I say--I have a cool family! For Christmas, another Ghoulia Yelps doll appeared under our tree along with Darth Maul and Monster High earbuds. I'll be rocking as I listen to Metallica and Pink.

In the background, you can see the beautiful new hardwood flooring DH, GK and I installed all by our lonesome. Literally last week, we got the blinds and new curtains put up and moved the furniture back in. It's the first time we've used the family room since the spring of 2008. That's when we started our little renovation project that was rudely interrupted by a hurricane.

In other news, tomorrow will be two weeks since Buddy the Elf Dog showed up in our driveway. He's a full bred Yorkie, male, about 4-5 years old, recently groomed. He's already become a member of  our pack. Last night, he was under the covers with DH and me. We still haven't located his owners, and I fear if/when we do, they entire family will be crying.

Well, I'm off to have lunch with my old critique group, and then muchos writing this afternoon.

Stay warm and safe everyone!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Movies for Girls Who Don't Think Like Other Girls

It's that time of year again. Frankly, I'm tired talking about the business, so continuing Will Graham, aka William Simon's take on non-traditional Christmas movies, here's a few of my favorites:

RED - Yes, Bruce Willis hits the list again, as retired CIA assassin Frank. The man's just trying to live his life and flirt with cute-sounding Sarah, the government clerk who reissues his pension checks when he tears them up just so he can talk to her. But when someone puts Frank on their hit list and takes out his innocent light-up snowman and reindeer on the lawn, I'm with him all the way as kills the bastards who ruined his Christmas decorations and threaten the spunky Sarah.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Still the best Vacation ever! Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid are at the top of their game. Between the insane squirrel, the cat shorting out the Christmas tree lights, and Cousin Eddie's well-meaning kidnap plan, the laughs are non-stop. Trivia note: This was one of Johnny Galecki's (The Big Bang Theory) first roles as the latest Rusty. To bad he couldn't appear in the hilarious Old Navy commericals this year.

Scroodged - A modern day take on Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray and the cast gives their own perverse spin on the classic. Carol Kane's sadistic Ghost of Christmas Present will always by my favorite. There's been many a time I want to slap someone acting like an idiot, but I don't know if I could do it with her pixie-ish glee.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas - Jack Skellington, the Halloween King, meant well when he accidentally stumbled into Christmas Town. How can anyone resist festive lights, candy canes and presents? But it all goes horribly wrong when Jack believes he and his cohorts can do Christmas better than St. Nick and the elves

What about y'all? Any odd traditional choices you'll be watching tonight or tomorrow?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Uh, So Where's the Apocalypse?

I was a little disappointed this morning. If the world had ended, I wouldn't have had to let the dogs out to pee at dawn o'clock. But then, predicting the end of the world is like the little boy who cried wolf. No one believes you. I wish I could say I was surprised that I did have to let the dogs out.

A couple of weeks ago, GK asked why everyone claimed the Mayans predicted the end of the world. We'd already covered the Olmec civilization in world history. We talked about them being the precursors of the Mayans, how humans tend to settle the same regions over and over again. How several ancient civilizations were just as accurate with the astronomical calculations.

Me: "Think about it. The Mayans didn't have paper. They lived in a jungle. How did they keep records?"

GK: "They carved them in stone like the Egyptians because it's the most durable stuff they had. Metal working wasn't available in the Americas until much later than the Europeans and Asians."

Me: "Right. Now if your chiseling a calendar into stone--"

GK: "That's a lot of work!"

Me: "Yep. We use paper, and how many calendars do we do into the future?"

GK: "One or two. Oh! So they did a few hundred years into the future, their arms got tired, and they figured they do the rest later?"

Me: "Pretty much."

GK: "Does that mean some doofus on TV is going to claim we were stupid seven hundred years from now because our calendar didn't go past December 31st?"

Me: "Probably. But they won't have TVs."

GK: "Fine. Some doofus will claim through the telepathic implant network that we were idiots who thought the world ended on December 31st, 2012?"

Me: "Yep."

GK: "This is giving me a headache. I'm going to make chocolate chip cookies."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comediva Does It Klingon Style!

The fabulous folks at Comediva have an excellent present for their fans! A FREE MP3 download of their viral parody 'Klingon Style'!

If you didn't catch Comediva's Star Trek tribute to PSY's 'Gangnam Style' this summer, here's a repeat:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Where the Hell Is the Next Book?

The last two-and-a-half months have been...weird, I guess is the best way to put it.

First, back-to-back colds waylaid me. It's one of the drawbacks of having a chronic health condition that leaves me immune deficient. A friend blames my diseases of the month on my trips to the B&N Cafe' or Starbucks, but there are times when you just need to get out of the house. And I can stay away from strangers, but that doesn't mean DH or GK won't carry some germ home that doesn't affect them in the slightest but sends me to the hospital.

On top of my illnesses, one of GK's wisdom impacted against the twelve-year molar that hadn't erupted yet, shoving it under the six-year molar. This happened in the two months between regular dentist and orthodontist visits (I saw the x-rays), which meant it had to be dealt with NOW. Of course, the kid bounced right back within two hours after surgery.

Mom, on the other hand, had massive amounts of parental stress and financial anxiety. First, the orthodontist and the oral surgeon decided to put me in this middle of their argument over the best course of treatment. Then, the money I had put aside from this summer's excellent sales for the fall slow down had to be used for GK's surgery because the insurance company decided to be dicks about covering the amount that, according their own f***ing policy, should have been covered.

Unfortunately, illnesses, the professional prick-waving contest, and yelling at insurance personnel over the phone meant I fell wa-a-ay behind on my word output for both the Suzan books and the Alter Ego's holiday release. And we won't even talk about editing.

I got the final edits done on Season of Magick: Winter and uploaded the story two weeks ago. That means it was only five weeks late.

I thought if I plowed through, I might get Blood Sacrifice finished and up before the end of this month. Then this weekend happened.

In the wake of certain events, I realized how little time I was spending with GK, how damn lucky I am to have him. I spent a lot of time hugging him over the last three days. At twelve, he's starting to hit the "Mo-o-o-m, really?" stage when it comes to displays of affection. But he's been pretty tolerant after what happened in Connecticut.

On top of everything else, GK found a stray dog in our driveway when he went out to bring in our garbage can Thursday night. Buddy (we had to call him something) appears to be a full-bred Yorkie about four-five years old. We've spent the last four days combing the neighborhood for his owner, posting his picture on our subdivision's Facebook page, and hitting the local vets and pet stores.

The three of us humans agreed we couldn't take him to a shelter. We also couldn't leave him outside when the temps were dipping into the thirties, and a coyote pack has been known to eat other small pets from the neighborhood. Dax the Wonder Dog gave in when he realized he had a playmate closer to his size.

So Buddy the Elf Dog is staying with us until we can locate the owner. This means I get to referee between a long-legged beagle and a Yorkie whose balls are bigger than his brain. It's been interesting.

So what does this all mean?

Hug your kids. Cuddle your puppies. And you'll see Blood Sacrifice sometime in 2013.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

No Words

To the victims and survivors of Sandy Hook, may you find your peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Publishing Gold Rush Is Digging Up Lead

Writers refuse to learn basic business principles. Publishing companies refuse to learn basic business principles. And we wonder why the publishing industry is in such bad shape.

I've complained about Simon & Schuster teaming up with vanity press Author Solutions (which, by the way, is owned by Penguin).

This week, Kris Rusch vented her own frustration at writers refusing to take responsibility for their careers.

Now, yet another small publisher may be in the process of going the way of Triskelion (I don't even want to go there), Dorchester Publishing (extensive chronicling by Brian Keene) and Aspen Mountain Press (Samantha Combs's report of the efforts to save the company).

Now, it appears Silver Publishing sinking rapidly. A publisher paying late is never a good sign. When the publisher starts throwing around legal threats and writers are holding a fundraiser for the publisher, things are bad. There's been several flame wars over the matter already, and it'll probably get worse before Silver finally succumbs. The Erotic Romance Blog catalogs some of what's going on.

Unfortunately, where there's smoke, something burning hot usually lies underneath. The fingerpointing and spinning is too much like the other defunct publishers I mention above to not take this seriously.

If you're a writer wanting to contract with a publisher, for the love of Murphy, CHECK THEM OUT before signing the contract!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why the Kitchen Sink Is Important

SFF Author Scott Lynch wrote a scathing retort to a reader who complained about Scott's heroine in Red Seas under Red Skies being a black, middle-aged woman.

As I read it, I wanted to scream, "Hell to the yeah!"

I want to read about variety. I want to write about variety. I want to share with my son that variety exists in this world.

One time, another writer read one of my Bloodlines books. Her primary complaint was that I threw in every race and religion as well as the kitchen sink. Most of my characters are vampires. They reflect the culture and religion of the time they were born.

I simply stared at her and said, "You expect me to take that criticism seriously?"

"It will confuse people," she replied.

"So your personal life is confusing to you?"


I leaned back and folded my arms. "Your mom's Mexican. Your dad's American. And you're married to a Chinese guy."

"Never mind."

Monday, December 10, 2012

The End of the World Is Nigh

You got to love a world leader with a sense of humor. (And the Aussies will probably survive!) 11 days and counting...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Season of Magick: Winter Is Live!

Finally! The last book of the Seasons of Magick series, Winter, is available!

The worst thing Tom Laoch ever did in his previous life was to turn down the advances of a goddess. And not just any goddess, but Morrigan, the goddess of war, magick and death.

Now, the gods have sent Tom back to Earth to save a Greenwich Village shop owner from a sorcerer, who plans to use her powers to destroy the human race. But Rain Bean isn’t just any businesswoman, she’s the mortal incarnation of Morrigan. Once she finds out Tom’s true identity, unhappy will be an understatement because everyone knows Hell hath no fury like a goddess scorned…

Novella, approximately 22,000 words or 80 printed pages

Many thanks to my readers for their patience!!

Seasons of Magick: Winter is currently available at the following e-book retailers:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writers Gone Stupid

This is going to be one of my rants, so if you don't want to read it, CLICK AWAY NOW!

See? That was a simple choice, wasn't it? Click away. Don't click away.

So why is it that I get phone calls, e-mails, Facebook comments, etc., from writers who can't make a simple fucking choice?

Even before the Kindle and Amazon turned the publishing industry into the Wild West, writers had some choices. Submit to this editor. Don't submit to that editor. Write romance. Don't write romance. It's really not that hard.

My favorite though is when they ask me for advice and I tell them not to stand in the middle of the freeway at night. Yet, they do it anyway.

So why do so many writers stand in the middle of the freeway at night, stare at the headlights of the oncoming semi-truck, and not move the hell out of the way? I really can't answer that. That's the point I truly lose my faith in my gods and believe Darwin and the atheists were right all along.

These writers, still standing in the middle of the freeway, are stupid enought to ask me what they should do. I shake my head and say, "Die in horrible accident. Don't die in horrible accident. Your choice."

And invariably when I present the choice to the writer that way, he/she says, "What if I've fallen out of my wheelchair and I can't get out of the way?"

If that's your follow-up, I swear to Anubis, I will look at you like you lost your last marble, and I will say, "Wheelchair or not, why the fuck are you stupid enough to be in the middle of oncoming traffic to begin with?"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing Inspiration from Howard Stern

Listen to this Howard Stern interview with Lady Gaga. About the forty minute mark, Lady Gaga talks about perseverance. Substitute "singer/songwriter" with "writer" and "music industry" with "publishing industry" and you'll get a very good idea if you have what it takes to succeed in this crazy business.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Blood Sacrifice Soundtrack - No. 12

I can't tell you why this is Alex's song without revealing a major secret. SORRY!