Archive for 'cool stuff'
Monday, July 13th, 2015
The kindle version of Edge of Dreams is on sale today for $1.99. Yay! So if you still don’t have a copy, it’s time to grab one. And spread the word for me, okay??
And now to go back to work on book 3 and see what damage I can do to my poor characters . . . Remember, adversity builds character. Bwahaahahahahahaha!
Sunday, June 7th, 2015
I finally am loading up pictures from RT. Here goes:
<—-This is me with Rachel Caine at the Random Penguin Party. There’s a number of pictures from the party.
This is Melanie Fletcher from said party. —>
<—-This is the least blurry picture of Patty Briggs and I. We took several but apparently we’re always moving.
<—-This is the lovely Charlaine Harris. She is amazing, everyone. Kind, nice, sweet, generous, and just a little bit snarky. Very cool woman.
These are Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne Stein, who write lovely things apart and together are SJ Harper. —–>
<———–That’s Chloe Neil, Me, and J. Kathleen Cheney at the party before the crowd hits.
These two hooligans are Ilona and Gordon Andrews. We were eating breakfast and got a table in the quiet back room. Until of course it filled up with people. It pays to be slightly early for breakfast at a con.
This is Me, Patricia Burroughs, Severus Snape, and Carole Nelson Douglas after a panel. No, we aren’t troublemakers, why do you ask? ——–>
<——–Then we have the Mad Hatter Tea Party and sorry, I took some blurry pictures. Some really great writers in there, and unfortunately, I can’t remember all their names. Obviously my roomie J. Kathleen Cheney is down there second to the last on the right.
<———This is me and Nicole Peeler at the mass signing. All those people behind us? writers. There were at least 400 writers there. Amazing. And Nicole had the best dress of all.
Speaking of the signing, here are two pictures to give you a sense of scope:
Now I have to get to the river of pee. You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you? So all the floors in the hotel had this particular carpet pattern. Now you tell me–river of pee? Or something else?
RT was nothing but fun. I had a great time and I suck at recapping, so I’ll just say that this was truly a comicon for readers. I love it.
Thursday, January 1st, 2015
Hi folks! Happy first day of 2015!!
I want to introduce you to someone. Everyone, this is John Hartness. John, this is everyone:
John is a writer. A good one. An entertaining one. I downloaded his recent The Black Knight Chronicles omnibus a couple weeks ago, and then he generously offered to let me read “Raising Hell,” his new novella. This is a story of Quincy Harker, who is a wizard, and who exorcises demons. His uncle is Dracula, and he’s got a guardian angel named Glory. He’s a smartass and while John points out the story isn’t funny, Quincy certainly has his funny moments. Morbid, but funny. So anyhow, if you can’t tell, I really liked this story. As in, read it fast and then started chomping at the bit for more. Which means I”ll be tackling that omnibus first thing this new year.
In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about John, and to let him speak a little about “Raising Hell.”
Here he is, in his own words:
Going to the Dark Side (there aren’t really cookies)
So most people, if they know me at all, know me as the funny horror guy. Or just the funny monster story guy. And that’s fine with me. After twenty-plus stories in the Bubba the Monster Hunter universe, and five novels in The Black Knight Chronicles universe, I’m pretty comfortable being funny.
Until I’m not. And sometimes I’m not funny. My short story “Fair Play,” which was included in The Big Bad anthology last year – not funny. Frankly, that story creeped me out a little, and I wondered about even publishing it. But then I decided that I liked the story a lot, and ran with it. So I’m not always funny.
Quincy Harker is not a funny man. His is not a funny series. It’s a dark world, more Batman than Elastic Man. Way more Tim Burton than Tim Conway (you young’uns go look that up). So this series isn’t funny. Sure, there are a few chuckles, a few one-liners. All my characters will have a certain level of snark to them, ‘cause how else could I write dialogue? But there’s a real level of danger with these stories. I don’t have much faith in the forces of good triumphing in these books, and bad things are going to happen to Harker and his cohorts, things that they might never recover from.
So why go there? If I’m happy being the funny dude, why go all grim on everybody? Well, for one thing – comedy doesn’t sell as well as the dark stuff. Funny stories are a weaker sell, and that’s the business part of writing a darker, grittier series. For another thing, I’ve never felt like I was only one kind of writer. I have a lot of ideas, and a lot of characters running around in my head, and some of them are pretty ugly. This series gives me a place to explore those darker nooks and crannies, and that’s part of the artistic side of writing a new series.
But the main reason I decided to write a darker series, featuring a part-vampire pseudo-immortal wizard is the same reason I write everything – the voices in my head wouldn’t shut up until I told their story. Quincy Harker needed to come out, to live on the page, and he wasn’t going to leave me alone until I wrote his story.
So I did. The first novella featuring Quincy Harker is called Raising Hell, and it releases on January 20. I hope you’ll click the cover below and pre-order, and I hope you enjoy it!
Monday, March 31st, 2014
Hi Everyone. I’ve talked about Marianne’s books before and I adore them. She’s got a new book out titled Peacemaker. I can’t wait to read it. I’ve got a copy burning through my kindle right now.
Before I introduce you to Marianne, here’s a description of Peacemaker:
Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller. When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. When the dead bodies start piling up around her and Nate, she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner are standing in its path
Doesn’t it sound like a great read? And now, let me turn you over to Marianne, who has kindly agreed to blog today.
Developing a character from a short story to a novel
I wrote a short story back in 2003 entitled Gin Jackson: neophyte ranger. It was a far future, science fiction tale set in outback Australia about a young woman who was a ranger for a vast, sparsely inhabited area. It had recognisable SF trappings: a town in an environmental bubble, bio-modified part-mechanical horses, and some other nifty technology. I found it a challenge to create the world and tell a self-contained story in three thousand words, but I think I did an O.K. job. The short story was published and then republished. It didn’t win awards but it was out there and got read by a few. More importantly though, it took root in my subconscious. I liked the main character. She was the capable, energised kind of heroine that I enjoyed hanging with.
Years passed. Literally … like seven years. Time came to begin a new novel, potentially a series. Gin Jackson starts banging on the inside of my skull, demanding to be let out. Before I even know what I’m doing, I’m writing about her again. She’s still as opinionated as ever, still as capable, but the Gin who’s been trapped in my subconscious has undergone a few changes (imprisonment can do that to you). Short-story-Gin had inherited the ranger’s job but didn’t really want it. She also had a problematic relationship with her father, and life sucked way out there in the bush.
The gal in the new novel insists on being called Virgin, LOVES her job and is her father’s greatest admirer. More changes follow these. The setting becomes the city, and the endless outback becomes an endangered park. The Wild West takes over the Australian West, and her sidekick turns out to be a real life cowboy. Go figure?
So why am I telling you this?
A writer’s hindbrain is an unfathomable, fascinating, and unpredictable place. Stories can brew in there for years, or they can strike like lightning. There is no way to chart the its anatomy. It’s a rabbit hole of Lewis Carroll dimensions, capable of creating a perfect storm. Like the red spot on Mars, it churns and boils and never ever stops. All you have to do to keep it in working order, is to live life.
And the one thing I have learned in twenty years as a novelist is … to trust it. We do our best thinking when we’re not!
Learn more about Marianne and her books
Order off Amazon here: Peacemaker
Sunday, December 1st, 2013
It doesn’t have to blow very hard outside to sound like quite a storm in this house. I like it. It’s whistling and moaning outside.
Been eating turkey leftovers and walking the dogs and getting ready to (finally) paint my office. Tomorrow I’ll start. I’m contemplating decorating for Christmas. I’m looking forward to putting stuff out here. Especially since it won’t be so cold outside while doing it. Whoohoo!
Did a signing at Reader’s Guide in Salem on Saturday with Devon Monk. Was a lot of fun and we got to meet a number of readers and I got to chat with some delightful people.
We watched Red2. Liked the first one better, but this was still very fun. Also watched RIPD. Campy and cheesy, but also fun. Did you know Garth Nix has written a fantasy regency romance? It’s called Newt’s Emerald. Haven’t read it yet, but I will this week. I love regency romances, and it’s Garth! Nix!
Also, a friend from grad school wrote this really awesome story called Honeydew. Go read it. You won’t regret it. It’s really excellent.
Did you have a good Thanksgiving? And if you don’t do Thanksgiving, did you have a good weekend?
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
I forgot to mention that I finished Trace of Magic a couple days ago. Go me! I talk about ending it over at Magical Words today. Specifically about ending creep. I’m pretty happy with the book so far, but only because it’s done and I haven’t reread it to find out what needs to be revised. I’m in that lovely state of denial.
My friend Christy Keyes has suffered some significant brain injuries this last year and she and her husband are struggling. If you can donate to her cause or spread the word or both, please do. I set up a gofundme site for her today. It’s here.
Have you ever noticed that family can drive you to a level of anger that no one else seems to be able to do? My son is a teenager and he’s behaving as such. Perfectly normal, but apparently I need to adjust better. And maybe go sit in the jacuzzi tub for awhile.
I did go to the chiropractor today. I feel better, but I’ll have to probably go back again. As long as I get better soon, I’ll be happy.
I’m tired of Black Friday commercials. I won’t be shopping on Black Friday, either. Unless I run out chocolate, which is highly unlikely. I just made a batch of rolls with mashed potatoes in them. I didn’t mash the potatoes very well. Hope they turn out. Also didn’t use unsalted butter, and didn’t adjust the salt levels in the bread. It’s my first go round with this recipe. The dough was nice an elastic when I set it to rise the first time. Here’s hoping it all turns out. I plan to make cinnamon rolls later. I ground the wheat myself, so it makes for tastiness.
On Small Business Saturday, Devon Monk and I will be signing and possibly reading at Reader’s Guide Books in Salem, Oregon, from 11-1. So if anybody can make it, please do!
And a little snippet, with names redacted:
“I hurt you,” he said tonelessly.
“You didn’t mean to,” I said carefully. I couldn’t get a read on how he was feeling or what he was thinking.
“I could have killed you. I wanted to kill you.”
“You didn’t know it was me.”
He shook his head and looked down, anger and fear rippling across his tight expression. “I did.”
I could only stare. My stomach turned inside out. [redacted] made a growling noise and started forward. I thrust out my hand to stop him. “Why?” I could barely push the word out. I felt strangled.
“I wanted to be dead.”
“You thought I’d kill you?” I squeaked, incredulous.
“You should have killed me. I asked you to.”
Monday, November 4th, 2013
I had a good weekend and busy. Lots of cooking and baking. Made hot apple cider, too, with sliced oranges, cranberries, cloves, and cinnamon sticks. Tasty. It went well with the pumpkin pie and all the rest. Unfortunately, boy of size is sick today. Throwing up. Just don’t know what the trouble is. I suppose it’s okay. Last week at the end of school he twisted his ankle and staying home gives him another day to stay off it. That’s a good thing.
We’re getting a lot of rain here in the next couple of days. I’m eyeing the leaves on the lawn with baleful intent.
Am starting to read some of the books that have been languishing in boxes (it’s a bad idea to pack the To Be Read mountain because then you only form another one).
This next weekend is Orycon. I need to post up my schedule. I read on Friday at 5:30. I’m nervous about that. Not sure what to read. I only have a 1/2 hour, so I am going to have to figure it out.
Incidentally, it’s officially official: contracts are signed for the re-release of the Crosspointe books and the next in the series! I suppose I could have led with that . . . But anyhow, I’m really excited. The Cipher will re-release in February. Trace of Magic will be out in August, unless things shift to earlier. More on that later.
And just because this is crazy creepy and cool, this is an article on ticks and how they work, with really awesome video showing how they attach and do their work.
Sunday, October 13th, 2013
We had so much fun! It was overcast and hardly anybody was in the maze. Sadly some had blown down in a recent nasty wind storm, but mostly it was standing tall. It was based on Mirkwood and the spiders!!!! It had a dragon at the exit, too. There were scarecrows inside to find and when you did, you stamped your ticket and then you could enter it for an end of season drawing. I love it. After, we went to the pumpkin patch and bought dirt-cheap pumpkins. We ended up with a 43 lb orange one, about a 35 lb orange with green warts, a white 20 lb one, and a big Cinderella pumpkin for baking (it’s an heirloom variety and supposed to be great for cooking.) All that for 22 bucks. Then we bought some purple cauliflower and some broccoli.
I can’t wait to go to another!! And now for some pictures. Sorry if their huge, they came off my phone.
We’re going in.
Children of the Corn
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
For the first time I have hit a spot in this novel where the scene isn’t working. I know what the problem is. One of the characters isn’t coming through fully here, so it’s feeling very flat and plastic. On the other hand, part of the scene rocks. I’ve introduced a new character that just makes me giggle. She’s really obnoxious.
This part, however, does work so far. So I’m sharing because all the interesting things I thought of telling you today went out of my head. Except you should look at this. It’s about Lake Natron in Tanzania where the water turns the animals into statues on account of chemicals from a volcanic eruption. Really surreal and cool.
and here’s the snippet:
Price stopped and turned me face him. “Screw Josh. He got himself into this mess without any help, and he’s a selfish bastard for dragging you into it with him. He’s not worth your life, Riley. No one is.”
I blinked at him, trying to figure out which of his eyes were real and which were the double vision pair. “Isn’t that your job? I mean the cop one, not the one where you kill people for the Tyet.”
Saaahmackdown! Cass said in my head. The word vibrated through my skull, sending aching ripples down my spine. Oops, sorry. But there’s more to you than I thought.
“My job is to hunt down bad guys. Not die.”
“What do you do when you’re the bad guy?” I waved the question away. “Nevermind. It’s none of my business. But I get the picture. You aren’t planning on dying for me. Message received.”
Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Am I all kinds of pathetic for being irritated that on Amazon, Shadow City has 29 reviews and it can’t get just one more to break even? And why am I even obsessing about this?
Lots of new great books out today. Laura Anne Gilman has Soul of Fire out, sequel to Heart of Briar. Anton Strout, Yasmine Galenorn, Martha Wells, and Elizabeth Bear have new books out, too. Go forth and read good stuff!
Remember that synopsis? It still won’t die. Or get done. But I keep writing on it. I think there’s progress, but I am still narrowing things down.
I want this.