Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I'm already late to the party for folks in Asia and Australia, but HAPPY NEW YEAR! May all our years surpass our hopes!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Sale!

If you're like me, you're filling up your ereader with a bevy of holiday heartwarmers.  And if so, you're in luck!  Samhain is having a sale on all Holiday Themed books this week!  (Ends Midnight Sunday.)  Just enter the code "PRESENT" at checkout to SAVE SAVE SAVE - 40% off!  You can get ANY format you like for your ereader directly from the Samhain Store at insanely awesome prices.  So hie forth and read, minions!  Warm up those hearts!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Romantic Times Rave!

Oh my stars and garters, you guys! RT Magazine gave Finder's Keeper 4.5 Stars!  It's in the February edition and only available to subscribers online for the moment, but here's a little snippet:

"Andrews has produced something truly special with her latest Karmic Consultants novel. Deftly blending humor with heartfelt insight into her unconventional characters [...] touching and thoroughly captivating."

You're gonna have to scrape me off the ceiling, boys and girls.  I shall now lead a conga line of one around my living room and compose sonnets to Review Goddess Bridget Keown.

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.  One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nominate Your Angel

Two of my fellow Rubies, Hope Ramsay and Liz Talley, are using the holiday season to celebrate the people in our lives who make them brighter.  Swing on by the Christmas Angels site and you can nominate your very own angel.  Just tell Hope and Liz about that special angel in your life before December 9th and they could be selected to win a $100 Visa Gift Card to do something nice for themselves this holiday season. 

Tis the season to be merry and celebrate our loved ones.  So go forth and nominate, darlings!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Great Chance to Win at TRR

Today over at The Romance Reviews' Year End Splash Party, you could win a copy of Finder's Keeper just by answering a question!  Scroll on down to Question #11 and tell me what Mia lost.  And hurry quick because time is ticking away (hint, hint, wink, wink).

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Holidays Simplified

Stress out already by all that you have to do during the holiday season?  Today my friend Dani Wade posted a blog with tips from authors on how to streamline and simplify your holiday process (including a tip from Casa Andrews).  Swing on by and comment and you could even win a gift card to make your days little merrier and brighter. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Changelings with Delilah Devlin

Hello, darlings!  Today I'm visiting the delightful Delilah Devlin at her blog and talking about family and how insanely different we can be from the people who share our genetic source material.  Sometimes it boggles the mind that my sister and I share DNA.  Swing on by and say hello!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Getting in the Spirit

Do you like Christmas books?  Those cheesy Hallmark Channel Christmas movies?

For the last few days I've been working to get into the holiday spirit - blasting carols, decorating the house, spending like crazy at le shoppes - but it hasn't really caught yet.  I think next week when my family is around me again and we're getting a tree together and shopping together, then it will feel more like the holidays, but in terms of "spirit" I'm off to a slow start this year.  That's where the books come in. 

I'm always looking for a few new schmalty, feel-good stories of the season to get me in the mood (and I'll also revisit some of my old favorites each year).  This year I've tripped across a few holiday reads and since the holidays are all about the sharing, I'm sharing them with you, lucky darlings.  Let me know if you know of others and we'll add them to the list!

Catch That Santa by Karen Doctor (free today for Kindle)
Perfect by Autumn Jordon
No Exchanges, No Returns by Laurie Kellogg
The Spirit of Christmas by Liz Talley
Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsay

And if you like the paranormal, it's a couple years old but still full of Christmasy good: my No Angel and the whole Winter Wishes anthology are still available. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Thanks For More Than Words

Tis the season to go shopping... and to remember those who may need a hand.  Harlequin is currently hosting their More Than Words event, which is designed to raise awareness (and award funds!) to deserving charities.  There are five nominees in the running this year and you can vote for your favorite cause HERE.  (Voting ends Sunday, November 26th!)  You can help someone out just by clicking!  Go forth and get involved, ladies and gents!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving, boys and girls!  The sun is shining, the snow is sparkly and crisp, and I'm thankful for YOU.  I won't be cooking today (unless you count the cinnamon rolls that come out of a tube which will be consumed for breakfast) because I am almost legendarily lazy in the kitchen.  But I will be eating.  Oh yes, I will be eating. 

I hope your day is filled with joy, your holiday season is filled with love and your year is filled with laughter. 

Until the Mayans kill us all.  ;)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dani Wade & Snowbound

Today I'm over at the Ruby blog interviewing Dani Wade about her heating-up-the-wintertime debut release Snow Bound.  Snowed in with a killer on the loose, it's good to have a studly neighbor feeling neighborly...

Swing on by and comment for a chance to win one of two Amazon Gift Cards. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Karma Day!

I mentioned this in my interview on Friday, but because I'm all gushy excited I want to share it again here.  It's official, boys and girls, the seventh and final installment of the Karmic Consultants series, featuring the puppeteer proprietress herself is going to be released in the Fall of 2013!  Naughty Karma, a paranormal novel full of the usual Karmic hijinx, is on its way!  You can expect romance, a battle of wills, cameos from your favorite consultants, and maybe a few surprises...

More to come as soon as I have more details to share!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Inside Scoop

Today I'm being interviewed over at the Ruby blog about all things Finder's Keeper.  Swing on by and say hello!  You may especially want to drop by and check it out if you're wondering when Karma will get her day as the heroine of her very own Karmic Consultants book. (Hint hint...)  

Happy Friday, boys and girls!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

TRR Year End Splash Party!

Hear ye, hear ye! Do you like free books? Gift certificates? You DO? Well you're in luck, boys and girls. It's time for TRR's Annual Year End Splash (or YES!) Party!


This event runs from November 15, 1200am EST to December 15, 1159pm EST. You have to register to win, but registration is free and easy.  And if you're looking for a testimonial, my mom loves TRR.  She won a book doing one of their quizzes once and has been hooked ever since.  So, you know, Vivi's Mom Approved! 

The Romance Reviews.  Go forth and win stuff!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mia's Obsession

So yesterday, Finder's Keeper released (and I'm still having these random surreal whoa, dude, people could be reading it RIGHT NOW moments - yes, I still get them with every book).  As I've mentioned (ad nauseum) the heroine of Finder's Keeper is a science nerd.  A brainiac.  And she's obsessed (I don't think that's too strong a word here) with figuring out how the brain works.  The chemistry and electricity of it all.  The hormones and the synapses.

It just so happens this is an obsession I share with Mia.  How cool is the brain?  Extremely cool, boys and girls.  Grey matter, white matter, cortexes and lobes!  And you know who else loves the brain?  Nova Science Now. 

As I believe I have mentioned once or twice her at Das Blog, I have a thing for Nova Science Now.  And it just so happens they've had a couple episodes on the brain & smarts.  So here they are - How Smart Can We Get & How Does the Brain Work.  Come share Mia's (and my) obsession!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finder's Keeper Has Landed!

It's here!  Happy release day, boys and girls!  Finder's Keeper, the sixth book in the Karmic Consultants series (which can be ready in any order, so if this is your first Karmic, don't be afraid to dive right in), is now available for download to your favorite e-reading platform, be it Kindle, Nook, or any other form you can think of available directly from Samhain (where it is on sale for just $3.85!).

Love isn’t a science. It’s pure chemistry.

Karmic Consultants, Book 6

True love? For neuroscientist Dr. Mia Corregianni, it’s just an unproven hypothesis. But when she loses the heirloom watch her family believes is enchanted with a potent love spell, she fights superstition with superstition by hiring a psychic finder to track it down.

Chase Hunter is a human compass, homing in on whatever the seeker wants most—that is, when he isn’t surfing or actively avoiding anything resembling a real human attachment. Such has been his life since an accident took his family.

Unfortunately, Mia’s case isn’t a simple insta-Find. The catch? To disguise his real mission from her romance-crazy family, he has to pretend to be her boyfriend. He could deal with that if her complicated emotions weren’t blocking his abilities—or if her innermost desires weren’t walloping him upside the head every time he opens himself to his gift.

As the case wears on, their fake romance begins to feel all too real. Scary stuff for a man who’s reluctant to let himself live again. And a woman who doesn’t believe in magic…or love.

Warning: This book contains meddling grandmothers, magic watches, and a surfer with a body so hot it can teach any scientist the true meaning of chemistry.

Today, to celebrate release day I'm over with the Nine Naughty Novelists discussing my all-consuming adoration for the genus Nerd-icus Maximus.

AND I will be visiting the Samhain Cafe this afternoon to share excerpts, answer questions, and yes, there might even be a giveaway running.

Happy reading, reader friends!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Right Canvas

I'm over at the Ruby blog today, talking about how Finder's Keeper started life as a promo freebie that turned into a full-on novel of its own.  And gabbing about writing and finding the write "canvas" for your work.  It's a very labored art metaphor.  You're welcome.  ;)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Very Superstitious

I've been talking about superstition lately and since it's SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY and I'm sitting here biting my nails for the 49ers, I thought I'd ask about sports superstitions.  Like, a commentator saying the words "He hasn't thrown an interception yet this game" is the kiss of death.  Next play?  Interception.  Baseball curses are my favorite (the poor Cubbies and that damn goat!), but I think just about every sport has crazy superstitions.  They bring the fan into the game.  We may not be able to tackle that rusher for you, but with enough concentrated energy, we fully believe we can sway the luck.

Here's my favorite football commercial this year: 


And, since I'm a baseball junkie, I just had to include this quote from Bull Durham.  Respect the streak, baby.
Crash Davis: I told him that a player on a streak has to respect the streak. You know why? Because they don't - -they don't happen very often. If you believe you're playing well because you're getting laid, or because you're not getting laid, or because you wear women's underwear, then you are! And you should know that!
Do you have a favorite sports superstition? 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This American Life - Meet Mia's Clan

When I sat down to write Finder's Keeper, the upcoming Karmic Consultants release, I knew it was going to be about a battle between magic & science - and that my uber-scientific heroine was also going to be going head to head with her family superstitions.  She's Italian-American, has an adorable Nonna who is the matriarch of the family, and she's dealing with a pervasive family superstition about a magic watch that grants the bearer true love.

Little did I know at the time, how closely my art was imitating life.  Yesterday at Nikki Duncan's blog, I mentioned a radio piece I'd heard - a piece that might as well have been about my heroine Mia's family.  It wasn't until a couple weeks ago, long after I'd been through edits and put my book to bed, that I heard this story on NPR one Saturday.  A This American Life tale about an Italian-American family with a very specific family tradition.

They mail pants and/or little dresses to expecting mothers in their family - and whichever one the mama gets, that's what she has - boy or girl.  Apparently it's been going on for generations and over twenty babies.   You can listen to the story HERE.

My family doesn't have any big traditions like that.  We spin the kitchen table during card games to turn the luck, but other than that, I can't think of any superstitions we hold to.  I kind of wish we had more!  The Rubies - a writing group I'm a member of - send "heel clicks" to one another for good luck (like Dorothy clicking her heels three times). 

Do you or your family have any superstitions?  Do you buy the one about the magic pants/dress?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Let the Finder's Keeper Release Fiesta Commence!

Okay, first off, WOW did this week ever get away from me.  It's Friday?  Already?  And what's this?  I have a super awesome kickass Karmic Consultants release (WOOHOO!!!) coming out on Tuesday?  Why yes, I do!  That's right, boys and girls, FINDER'S KEEPER will be here before you know it.  And today, I'm guest blogging over at Nikki Duncan's place where commenters will be eligible to win an Advanced Reader Copy of the book before it releases! We're talking about wacky family traditions and superstitions.  Come play and you could go home with a book or a $15 gift card!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Confessions of a Book Hoarder

I'm a book hoarder.  Now that doesn't mean I'm going to end up on a TLC show with my family staging an intervention for my own good.  It means I have this weird tendency in my reading habits.  The literary safety net.  My fiction security blanket.

If there is a series or an author I love - like really hardcore love - I have a pathological need to keep one book unread in reserve until the next one comes out.  I'll buy the book, but it will sit there on my shelf, comforting me with the surety that if I need an Eloisa James or a Nalini Singh or a Kristan Higgins, it's there for me in my hour of desperation.  So I'm always one behind, reading the next-to-latest release as soon as the new release hits stores.  So, for example, I can finally read Archangel's Blade because Archangel's Storm is sitting next to it on my shelf.  And just last week I finally read Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones, because Fourth Grave had hit the shelves. The only exception to this is when it is the acknowledged last book of a series (like Mockingjay).

I know that I do this.  I know why.  And I know that it is weird.  So my question is not so much, whether anyone else out there hoards books for a rainy day, but more in the spirit of confessions, what are YOUR weird reading habits?  Spill, boys and girls!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Can Someone Splain Cloud Atlas Plz?

Okay, so I went to see Cloud Atlas, and I don't think I got it.  I have friends who have been all gushy gushy about how great it was and all I could think was, "I don't know what I'm supposed to take away from that.  What's the point?"  So could someone please explain it to me?  I consider myself a pretty smart cookie and I'm a very attentive movie-goer - I tend to pick up on visual hints and foreshadowing and whatnot - but I just could not figure out what message I was supposed to be receiving from Cloud Atlas.

**Warning: Spoilers, but not very coherent ones, because I just didn't get it...**

If it's about how our actions in one life carry over into the next (karma, reincarnation) then I need someone to explain the causality between the story lines, because I didn't see it.  Why was the Tom Hanks storyline so all over the place, with the only apparent connection between his characters being the fact that they were all played by Tom Hanks, while the Jim Sturgis characters were all exactly the same from one life to the next?  Was the Hugo Weaving character even supposed to be a person?  Because he seemed to be this caricature of evil rather than an actual human soul.  Did the composer who committed suicide ever come back into the later storylines?  Because I didn't see him (though sometimes they were hard to pick out).  So is the message, don't take your own life because then you won't get another one?

The movie was interesting but not satisfying.  So could someone please satisfy my curiosity and tell me what the hell all that meant?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Porn!

Guess what, boys and girls, it's Samhain's Seventh Anniversary! Lo, these many years ago Samhain began publishing ebooks, and today, to celebrate, they've released a video with Mr. Sexypants here showing us all how to download from their website. Enjoy!  and Happy Anniversary, Samhellions!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

You know what I love about Halloween?  That it goes on for almost a whole week when it's in the middle of the week like this year.  Parties the weekend before, trick or treating the night of, more parties the week of...  More excuses to be dressed up and spoooooky!

You know what else I love about Halloween?  Free stuff!  And if you like winning things, hie yourselves on over to the Samhain Cafe where a mad huge Halloween party is going on RIGHT NOW (until 9pm EST tonight). 

Or, if you haven't picked up your FREE copy of The Ghost Exterminator, you have only two more days to snag one before the deal is gone, so don't delay!  Amazon :: Nook :: Samhain

Happy Halloween, boys and girls!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Rubies Are Really Cookin'

Have you ever read a book and the characters are eating something and you immediately start craving that exact same thing and you want it right now but damn where is a recipe when you need one?  Well, the Rubies have a treat for you.  The Ruby Cookbook Eat, Read, Love is filled with recipes and excerpts of the books that inspired them.  Wondering what's in the Parish Cocoa that gets Biz totally schnokkered in Ghosts of Boyfriends Past?  Itching to try Lucy's rum cake "stud" muffins from The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo & the Poltergeist Accountant?  You're in luck!  And it's absolutely free.   

Swing on by the Ruby site today to see more about the recipes inside and learn how to download your absolutely free romance cookbook.  Bon appetit! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mas Buzz for Finder's Keeper!

This morning, I opened up my email box and what to my wondering eyes should appear?  An alert for another shiny Finder's Keeper Review: 4.5 Nymphs from Literary Nymph Reviews!!

"I really enjoyed this fun and entertaining paranormal romance. It’s fast-paced, has vivid descriptions and the bantering dialogue between Mia and Chase cracked me up."

Thank you, Literary Nymphs!  You can check out the full review HERE.

In four short weeks, this baby is gonna hit the shelves and you can see for yourself.  In the mean time, don't forget to snag THE GHOST EXTERMINATOR: A LOVE STORY while it's free (just in time for Halloween!) for Kindle (#43 in the free store! help us crack the top 20!), Nook & from Samhain!  Tell your friends!  Don't let the Free-ness pass you by!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Get It While It's FREE!!!

The Ghost Exterminator, the second Karmic Consultant's release (and yes, they can all be read in any order), is FREE for a limited time at Amazon (HERE!) and Barnes and Noble (Ta-da!)!

Looking for a frothy fun paranormal romance read to get you in the mood for Halloween?  Look no further!  Download it (FREE FREE FREE) today and enjoy the ghosty goodness just in time to get amped up for the latest Karmic episode of awesomeness, Finder's Keeper, coming to a digital device near you on November 13th!

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Library Journal Found a Keeper!

She liked it!  That's right, boys and girls, the Library Journal reviewed Finder's Keeper and the librarians approve!  (Don't you just love librarians?)

"A fun, fast romance with appealing characters, great dialog, and loads of appeal; with the promise of several sequels."—B. Allison Gray, Santa Barbara P.L. Syst., Goleta Branch, CA

Woohoo!

Check out the full write up HERE.  Or take a warm up dance around the living room with me as we get ready for the next Karmic release - just one month away!  Let the countdown to Karmic-ness begin!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Get Your Karmic Pre-Order TODAY!

Hear ye, hear ye!  It's coming for you, boys and girls.  We're Pre-Order Official.

Are you a Karmic fan?  Have you been waiting for-ev-er for the next one to finally come out?  Well, you're in luck!  On November 13th, the next book in the ongoing quirky Karmic saga hits the digital shelves and you can pre-order it today!  Check out Finder's Keeper!

Love isn’t a science. It’s pure chemistry.
True love? For neuroscientist Dr. Mia Corregianni, it’s just an unproven hypothesis. But when she loses the heirloom watch her family believes is enchanted with a potent love spell, she fights superstition with superstition by hiring a psychic finder to track it down.

Chase Hunter is a human compass, homing in on whatever the seeker wants most—that is, when he isn’t surfing or actively avoiding anything resembling a real human attachment. Such has been his life since an accident took his family.


Unfortunately, Mia’s case isn’t a simple insta-Find. The catch? To disguise his real mission from her romance-crazy family, he has to pretend to be her boyfriend. He could deal with that if her complicated emotions weren’t blocking his abilities—or if her innermost desires weren’t walloping him upside the head every time he opens himself to his gift.


As the case wears on, their fake romance begins to feel all too real. Scary stuff for a man who’s reluctant to let himself live again. And a woman who doesn’t believe in magic…or love.


Warning:  This book contains meddling grandmothers, magic watches, and a surfer with a body so hot it can teach any scientist the true meaning of chemistry.

Pre-Order Today! AMAZON :: B&N :: SAMHAIN

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Broaden a Mind?

Tripped across an interesting little snippet in Scientific American about how reading can impact our perspectives.  Apparently a study (using heterosexual males reading stories, some with homosexual male protagonists) noted that the readers used less stereotypical language to describe a character when they found out about that character's sexual orientation later in a book (after they had already come to identify with him) rather than in the opening paragraph.  Sort of an interesting article to interpret as a writer, bringing home the fact that readers connect with characters who are like them, but learn from characters in the ways that they differ from us as they are revealed to us or change throughout the book.  Interesting idea, no?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pleasant Lake, PD is HEEEEEERE!!!!

If you visit the blog often, you've probably heard me gush about Kelly Fitzpatrick before.  Not only is she a great friend (bias alert), she's also a fabulously funny writer who pens stories with dry sarcastic wit and a gushy tender heart.  So if you're looking for a book that will make you giggle, snort, chortle, chuckle, laugh out loud and sigh at the happily-ever-after, do yourself a favor and give Kelly Fitzpatrick's latest release a try:


Pleasant Lake P.D. by Kelly Fitzpatrick

Alexandria Moreno, parking enforcement officer for the serene town of Pleasant Lake, has signed on with the FBI to nail a gorgeous suspected criminal, Miguel Diaz, who's passing himself off as a legitimate businessman. Alex's assignment is to use her feminine wiles, of which she has few, to infiltrate Diaz's world and find some evidence for a conviction. To complicate matters, she's teamed up with Detective Roman Plow, who is her ex-boyfriend, though the FBI doesn't know it. As they focus on retaliating for past wrongs, real and imagined, their smoldering love/hate relationship brews. They're not exactly an ideal team. With her bumbling nature, a steamer trunk full of emotional baggage, and no investigating skills, Alex spends most of her time reminding herself that the tall, dark, and handsome Miguel Diaz is not her real boyfriend and struggling to keep from falling into his bed. As she tries to dig up dirt on her undercover lover, the steamy investigation leads to a fight for her life. But who is behind the attacks?

B&N ::  AMAZON

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Banned Books Week!

Once a year we celebrate Banned Books Week (and you can check out the American Library Associations list of events HERE).  Why celebrate books that have been banned?  Because banning a book is a sign that it challenges preconceived ways of thinking and that is what great literature should do - open us up to new ways of thought, even if those thoughts might shock us or fly in the face of our moral box.  So here's to thinking outside the box!  Read a banned book or two this week.  And hug a librarian.  Because they work tirelessly to make sure those wild and world-opening words get into our hands.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly!

My month long writing hermitage is drawing to a close and I can proudly announce that it has been a very successful one.  And how do we celebrate a successful writing retreat at Casa Andrews?  With a new an exciting adventure.  In this case: Trapeze!  That's right, boys and girls, I found a local flying trapeze school and took the leap - off the high platform, swinging through the air with the greatest of ease... or okay, it wasn't exactly ease my first time.  My knees were knocking and I was afraid my wimpy upper body strength wasn't going to be enough and I was going to plummet like a rock to the net because I was not made for circus tricks, but I didn't plummet!  I swooped and swung and flew (rather gracelessly, but hey, I flew)!  The teachers told me I did very well (and yes, I realize they probably tell that to everyone, but I swear they sounded really sincere)!


(Yes, I am wearing a superhero T-shirt.  Cuz that's how I fly, baby.)

If you ever have the opportunity (check out the schools in Boston, NYC, LA, Chicago & DC!) I highly recommend AT LEAST checking out their trial swing times when you can see if the trapeze bug is going to bite you.  I kind of want to round up a bunch of people and force them to do this with me on my next birthday. They are extremely safe so you never have to worry about falling and they are so amazingly good at coaching you through - I didn't quite get my backflip dismount, but I'm determined to go back and get a catch!  (Just as soon as I work up my muscles a little more.  I was sore the next day in places I don't know I've ever been sore before, but it was sooooo worth it.)

Trust me, guys, you GOTTA try this. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Read All About It!

Hear ye, hear ye!  Do you love Samhain books?  Do you want to be up to date on all the latest releases, contests, and news from Samhain Publishing?  Well, you're in luck, duckies!  You can subscribe to Samhain's Newsletter (HERE!) and all that info will be delivered straight to your inbox.  Go forth and sign up! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Make It Golden, Baby!

Are you an aspiring romance writer planning to enter the Golden Heart this year?  Would you like to have your entry fee paid for you?  (Cuz who wouldn't, amirite?)  Well then, hie yourself on over to the Ruby Blog where we are hosting our annual Make It Golden contest.  Your opening could win you an entry fee!  (Fame! Fortune!  Acclaim!)  All this could be yours...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Get Your Books, Swag & Critiques While They're Hot!

It's that time again, boys and girls!  Yes, the third annual (can you believe we're three?!) Ruby Blog-O-Versary!  We have a shiny new look to our website (faster! better! practically bionic!) and approximately eleventeen bajillion prizes to give away to commenters today.  So come on by and grab your share of the swag just for wishing us a happy blog birthday! 

Three years and going strong!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lost Arts

So I'm reading the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I know, I know, I'm behind the times) and it has me wanting to take up letter writing - except for two tiny little details.  1) I don't have a steady return address so by the time I sent a letter there would be no guarantee that I would still be at my return address to receive a reply.  And 2) No one writes letters anymore.

I feel like letter writing is one of those lost arts, victims of efficiency.  Why write a letter when an email is faster and cheaper?

But is fast always a good thing?  When you write a letter, you take the time to say what you want and say it well.  And it lasts.  Emails last forever but they feel transient because they aren't physical.  I just can't picture digging up an old box of love emails my grandma wrote to my grandpa.  No handwriting to puzzle through, no sense that they touched those pages, held them all those years ago.  Is this a way the internet makes us less connected, even as it makes us more connected?  Is Goodnight Tweetheart the modern sequel to the epistolary novels of old?  

I still write in journals, even though I type at about three times the pace I write by hand.  My thoughts are crisper scrawled in purple pens across the pages.  I find I think different things.  Would the conversations we have via email be different if we knew they had to withstand the time spent in the post and still be relevant?  Would we be different for the changes in the conversations we have in the post, for the different thoughts we think in that slower mode?  Is letter writing an art we should save?  Or is it a fatality of the times, dead and unwept?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Non-Friday Unfixable Mess Fix-It Friday: The Words

I wonder, boys and girls, if Bradley Cooper secretly hates writers.  Not on a conscious level, mind you, but in some dark corner of his soul where his id fantasizes about slaughtering us all in our sleep.  It's the id that has all the dark business, isn't it?  I say this because he seems to delight in playing writers that are rather dreadful human beings (or perhaps a more charitable person would just say they are particularly susceptible to human frailties).  First it was Limitless - where the writer took a magic pill that let him write his book in one night and then go on to be a TOTAL SCHMUCK for the rest of the film.  Now it's The Words.  Oh, The Words. 

I should not have gone to this movie. 

Oh, by the way SPOILERS AHOY!  MAD HUGE SPOILERS.  I'm not even going to try to contain the spoilers so, you know, you've been warned.

Plagiarism.  Isn't that a happy topic for a movie?  But it's a movie about a book and it had a cast I enjoy (Oh, Jeremy Irons, why?  Why did you do this to me?), so I thought, perhaps there will be a good message in the end and it will delight me.  The previews said it was the first Must See movie of the year.  Lying punks who make previews.  I shake my fist at them.

I thought the moral was going to be Plagiarism Is Bad, which I can get behind.  But then the moral seemed to skew to somewhere between You Can Plagiarize And Get Away With It! and The Worst Thing About Plagiarism Is the Guilt Poor Poor You Will Feel.  And don't tell your wife, because if you do, she will leave you, so if you are going to plagiarize, be secretive!

If you've seen the movie, the ONLY thing that even comes CLOSE to redeeming the SUCKAGE of these two messages is the line about how maybe the old man didn't really exist - which makes it a question of either 1) he plagiarized and the old man was a figment of his guilt that ruined his life OR 2) he wrote the book then couldn't accept his own success (ooooooh, right?) and invented the plagiarism thing to cope with his own imposter syndrome, which would be a really cool movie.  I just don't think this was that movie.

I was also kind of squicked out by the young girl coming onto him when he was his semi-older Dennis Quaid-self, because I couldn't figure out if she was supposed to be his daughter.  And then they were making out and I was like, DEAR GOD I HOPE THAT IS NOT HIS CHILD.  But maybe I wasn't supposed to think that, but she knew a lot about his life and Olivia Wilde could potentially be the love child of Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana, right? 

So the book The Words with no name on the cover was supposed to be his literary form confession that his younger self plagiarized?  And he was successful but it was an empty success because his wife left him when he told her that he had stolen the book?  Is this really your protagonist?  Am I really supposed to relate and/or feel sorry for him?  REALLY?  No.  He had a thousand opportunities to come clean and he didn't.  Why do dramas always want us to root for the jerkface douchebags? 

You know who I can root for?  People who don't plagiarize.  That's who. 

/rant

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Delinquent Blogger

I've been a very bad blogger lately, haven't I?  I'd like to tell you it'll be getting better (and maybe it will, who knows?) but it seems unlikely since I am currently headed up into the mountains of New Hampshire where I will have limited internet for the next month.  What I will have, whilst I am all de-internetted, is a stretch of lovely, uninterrupted time to FINISH (yes, I said it, finish) Karma's book, which I have been slowly, slowly, slowly toiling over for what feels like eleven million years.  Now, I don't like to talk about the books while I'm still wrestling the wily little bastards into submission, so I won't say much, except 1) it is hella fun seeing all my favorite characters come back to say howdy and 2) this is a battle royale between Order and Chaos and I love it when love is good and chaotic.  Or evil and chaotic.  As the case may be.

Now wish me luck and fiendish productivity, boys and girls.  I'm off to my writing cave. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Nifty Fifty... and Quebec!

It's official, boys and girls!  As of last week when I crossed the border into lovely Vermont, I have been to every state in the United States (plus Puerto Rico & the US Virgin Islands - now I just need to get to Guam)!

I'm not going to do a full-on travelog blog today, but since I have been roadtripping and hiking and sight-seeing all over New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and southern Quebec, here's an economy-sized highlight reel (complete with bullets!  Cuz bullets are awesome!):
  • Niagara Falls!  Which, I'm not gonna lie, the first thing I thought when I looked at it was "Dude, I would totally bungee jump off that."
  • The Berkshires!  Gorgeous and charming.  I rambled through Great Barrington (near the school where I went to a summer program as a kid!) and swung by for an afternoon concert in the sunshine at Tanglewood (Beethoven and Bartok!  Bliss!). 
  • Vermont!  I did not drink the maple syrup like a shot, even though I was encouraged to do so. 
  • Boston-ish area.  Dude, did you guys know there are beaches that far north?  It made me think of Jaws, not gonna lie.  Wingaersheek (sp?) was all a New England beach should be - complete with Richie's slush - which is like the icee-sorbet desert delicacy of the region. 
  • New Hampshire!  I climbed mountains!  I tripped across a basement jazz club and an outdoor showing of Labyrinth!  My blood was sampled by every mosquito in a thirty mile radius!
  • Montreal!  The last time I was in Montreal, I was so young I barely remembered it.  But this time was fabulous.  I stumbled across a six piece jazz ensemble playing in the pedestrian zone!  Old town was charming, the Notre Dame Basilica was magnificent, climbing Mont Royal was worth every step, but my favorite part?  (Not the poutine, though you have to respect a culture who look at french fries and cheese curds and think, "Nah, too healthy, let's add gravy!")  It was the bikes!  There are these bikes you can rent all over town.  You swipe your little thingy and it undocks the bike, then you ride it wherever you want and dock it in another station across town (you don't even have to do round trip!).  I LOVED biking through Montreal.  Wherever I end up next month, there will be bikes.  Oh yes, there will be bikes!
  • AND, I got to spend time with my favorite pianist and my favorite trombonist!  There was much talk about musicology, genre, inspiration, and deconstruction.  I love artists who devolve into theory.  They make my brain so happy.
And that's all folks...

Up next, all seven continents.  I'm coming for you, Antarctica! 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The End of the World All Over Again

That's right, boys and girls, we've got another shiny pretty review for Reawakening Eden!  Because there's no time like the present for the apocalypse.  The Romance Reviews gave it a read and awarded it Four Stars.  (Woot!)  Observe:

"Eden and Connor's relationship is intense, as is everything in this post-apocalyptic world. [...] REAWAKENING EDEN is a good way to spend an hour in a scary world of survival and reawakening."

You can check out the full review here.

I haven't been noticing an appreciable increase in apocalyptic books on the market, have you?  Weren't we all supposed to be fixated on the end of the world?  It's only a few more months until the Mayans rain down hellfire and brimstone with the four horsemen and all that jazz.  Maybe the publishing houses are waiting until the eleventh hour, trying to get those apocalyptic books onto the shelves for November and December, just in time for the end of days (and some light holiday reading, har).  Or maybe the Mayan prophecy mania has already died down.  Until the next rapture...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Prizes! Prizes! Prizes!

That's right, boys and girls, it's time to win some swag! Long and Short Reviews are celebrating their fifth anniversary with a scavenger hunt and you (yes, YOU!) can win GIFT CARDS (up to $100!), books and tons of other goodies.  Visit LASR to learn how to play.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Behold, the Manwhore!

Today swing on over to the Ruby blog to check out the original "Hick Lit" romp, Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore by my fellow Ruby Lindsey Brookes.  I'm interviewing Lindsey about this hound dog hero and the road she took getting this unconventional romance into print.  Commenters who chime in before Sunday at 5pm Eastern have a shot to win some Possum Hollow swag so hie yourself on over and take a peek!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bite Me, Baby, One More Time!

You guys! Mary Hughes has a new Biting Love book out! I LOVE (with many squees and floating hearts) this series. I have longed for more yummy, vampy funny-as-hell goodness and at last it has arrived!  Can I get a woohoo?

Observe, the awesome:

Biting Oz 

Real vampires do musicals.
Biting Love, Book 5

Gunter Marie “Junior” Stieg is stuck selling sausage for her folks in small-town Meiers Corners. Until one day she’s offered a way out—the chance to play pit orchestra for a musical headed for Broadway: Oz, Wonderful Oz.

But someone is threatening the show’s young star. To save the production, Junior must join forces with the star’s dark, secretive bodyguard, whose sapphire eyes and lyrical Welsh accent thrill her. And whose hard, muscular body sets fire to her passions.

Fierce as a warrior, enigmatic as a druid, Glynn Rhys-Jenkins has searched eight hundred years for a home. Junior’s get-out-of-Dodge attitude burns him, but everything else about her inflames him, from her petite body and sharp mind to what she can do with her hip-length braid.

Then a sensuous, insidious evil threatens not only the show, but the very foundations of Meiers Corners. To fight it, Junior and Glynn must face the truth about themselves—and the true meaning of love and home.

Warning: Cue the music, click your heels together, make a wish and get ready for one steamy vampire romance. Contains biting, multiple climaxes, embarrassing innuendos, ka-click/ka-ching violence, sausage wars and—shudder—pistachio fluff.
Go forth and laugh your asses off, minions.  Mary Hughes is back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Popular Romance Project

At RWA this year I was introduced to the Popular Romance Project, a documentary film being made about the romance writing industry (and hopefully debunking some of the popular myths about writing romance). Education about a topic is always a good thing, so here's hoping educating the public about romance will take away some of the snark the popular media feel they need to heap on any story about a romance novel or author doing well in the fiction realm. Take a look:


Pretty cool, huh?  If you have trouble viewing the video or would like to support the film go HERE to learn more.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marathoning

Today I'm over at the Ruby blog talking about perseverance in this writing game and not trying to win a marathon by running at sprint pace.  Or something like that...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trust Me On This

What if you could look into the future and see that your galaxy was going to be destroyed in 300 years unless you turned your life upside down and followed a single, nearly-impossible path for your entire life in an attempt to save people who won't even be born by the time you die? Would you do it? Or would you just write it off as an impossible task and do everything you could to enjoy life with the weight of that knowledge dragging you down?

That's the massive question facing Ia, the heroine of A Soldier's Duty  and An Officer's Duty by Jean Johnson - the first two books of this mind-bending sci-fi series.

Ia is a precog.  She knows she can save the galaxy.  If.  If she joins the space military.  If she can convince people to trust her, to follow her, to believe in her instructions a hundred years after she herself will die.  Fascinatingly, the author also tests your trust of Ia - not always letting you see the future she sees, so you have to trust that she is doing what is best for all of us.  Almost like one would put faith in a god - but a god we have come to see as all too human.

I loved An Officer's Duty and it got me thinking about the importance of trust in the reading experience.  Do we trust the author to deliver that satisfying ending?  Do we trust the character to behave with the integrity that makes us glad we've been rooting for them from the beginning?  It's a leap of faith, granting that trust, which is part of why I think negative book reviews can be so vitriolic - we feel like our trust was betrayed.  But sometimes the author more than lives up to our expectations and a book not only satisfies, it opens up new avenues of thought and becomes one of reading experiences that reminds us why we became addicted to the written word to begin with. 

I live for this stuff. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reviews! Love 'Em or Leave 'Em?

I've just received notice of a new Review for Reawakening Eden.  Always fun when the books crawl out of the vault for a bow.  Two Lips Reviews has awarded us Four Stars, boys and girls!  Can I get a woohoo?  You can check out the full review HERE (with the usual spoiler warning that accompanies all reviews, if you want to be surprised by the post apocalyptic-y awesome, you might want to forebear).

I always try to avoid reviews for movies, but reviews for books have sometimes intrigued me enough to buy the book... so tell me, minions, do you like reading reviews?  Do they influence your entertainment choices?  Do they impact your experience of the work?  I find if I'm watching a movie I've read a review of, I will actually spend most of the film comparing it to the review in my mind, which is hella annoying.  Have you ever done that? 

Word of mouth is an excellent way to hear about movies and books, but they can also be so easily overhyped.  My dad didn't like Star Wars the first time he saw it because by the time it came to Alaska (back when distribution wasn't instantaneous) it had been hyped so much that ANY movie would have disappointed.  It's all about expectations... we want people to love our books and tell other people to love our books... but then maybe those other people hate our books because they've been told they're going to love our books and then THEY tell someone else that they hated the book and that person is intrigued and starts to read in spite of themselves and they LOVE the book and... it's a vicious cycle.  Reviews, spoilers... when it comes down to it, it's just you and the book.  And we hope you like it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

And the Gold Medal for Adorable Goes to...

So I was once a swimmer. Never elite by any stretch of the imagination, but backstroke was my stroke, baby, and swimming is still my favorite event of the summer games. And yes, you may have seen this video since it's been making the rounds, but it is clearly awesome enough to be seen again.  So here we go, boys and girls, the US Olympic Swimmers and Call Me Maybe:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Choose My Adventure

You know those choose your own adventure books?  There are days when my life feels like that.  My plans only go so far into the future and then I hit the page where I have to decide whether I'm going to walk over the gorge on a tightrope or go rafting down it.  But what do you do when both options are awesome and you don't have any parameters limiting which one you pick?  You ask random people on the internet, that's what you do.  (Or the not-so-random people who visit this blog.  Hello, not-so-random readers!)

So what should I do with my life?  Choose my adventure!  Tell me who I should be when I grow up!  Or just tell me what you think I should do this fall.  Do I:

A) Hole up somewhere (like Alaska! or Florida! or somewhere else!) in a hermitage and write my fingers to the bone.  (Pros: Productivity & Frugality. Look how responsible I am!  Cons: Potential of going stir crazy since I start to twitch if I don't stamp my passport at regular intervals.)

B) Take a cruise from Alaska to Beijing, meet up with my buddy in China and do some more Asian travel whilst (whilst! best word ever!) my buddy in China is still living in China.  (Pros: Asia! Whilst my friend is still in Asia. Cons: Somewhat less on the productivity and frugality.)

C) Fly to Europe and meet up with my parents for a transatlantic cruise.  (Pros: I haven't been on a cruise with my parents in ages! How fun would that be?  And Europe! Yay! And transatlantic cruises are hellagood deals. Cons: I have just been to Europe and the productivity would be less awesome.)

D) Go to South America and see Machu Pichu, Chile, various jungles and mountains and Amazonian basins.  (Pros: I've never been to South America! Wheeeee!  Cons: Not so much with the frugal and productive...)

E) Something else!  Do I wait for some heretofore unconsidered option of awesomeness to appear before me?

Which adventure should I choose, boys and girls? 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Get Your Romance On

I'm off to the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim this week. If you're going to be in the area and you love romance, the Readers for Life Literacy Signing is a FABULOUS way to grab some books and meet your favorite authors face to face.  Come to the Anaheim Marriott & Convention Center Wednesday from 5-8pm to score some books and chat up your authors of choice.

And if you're coming to the conference, look for me!  Here are some of the places where you can catch up with me (and some other Rubies) this week at Nationals.  Go forth and romance-ify the world, minions!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Run For Your Life!

You guys!  I totally want to do this!  It's a 5K.  With Zombies.  ZOMBIES.  http://runforyourlives.com/  The Missouri one is on my birthday.  Most awesome birthday ever, amirite? 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

LXD

Since I've been talking about superheroes, how about some superheroes of the dance variety? (Just ignore the snark about Iron Man and Spider-man.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Report from Comic Con: Day Four

The final day of Comic Con was a light one for me... mostly because after three solid days of All Comic Con All The Time, we're all ready to pass out where we stand... in line... waiting... forever... like the most colorful production of Godot ever performed...

I attended a few book panels in the morning, including a YA panel featuring my personal deity Scott Westerfeld (Uglies!  Leviathon!).  He, like Joss Wheadon, Orson Scott Card and Bryan Fuller, was everything I imagined a genius of his caliber to be.  He talked a bit about specificity in YA - how the characters are extraordinary in some unique way, and that shiny-snowflakeness appeals to us, at any age.  The idea that there will be a moment (a fairy godmother moment, as another panelist put it) when it is revealed that you really are more awesome than all those other people out there in the world.  When a Hagrid, or an Edward, or an Effie Trinket will pull your name out of a hat and you will be put on the path to the greatness you may never have suspected lurked inside your normalcy.  Then they went on to speak about the importance of setting - how many books are defined by the phrase "on a a world where" making the uniqueness and specificity of setting a defining element in YA.  In a genre that is broad and wild in its possibilities, it was a fabulous panel.

After that I grabbed some lunch to eat while waiting in line for the Buffy 20th Reunion (since the movie) Panel.  The actors playing Jeffrey from the original movie, Glory, Xander and Spike from the show and writer Jane Espensen and two Dark Horse Comic artists/writers filled out the panel.  They talked about the legacy of Buffy - which I think is powerful, no denying that, but when they laid the success of the "entire paranormal romance genre" at the feet of Buffy, I started to twitch.  Yes, I'm sure there is a symbiotic relationship between the popularity of the series and the growth of the genre, but it isn't so simple as to say Buffy spawned paranormal romance any more than you can say Running Man spawned Hunger Games.  (And speaking of Running Man, when is someone going to remake that movie without all the slapsticky one-liners?)  Yes, Buffy was awesome and kickass and I'm sure she did a lot for the genre of paranormal romance, but art is an evolution that is too complicated to be originated by any one show.  The fact that such a sweeping generalization was just accepted and run with by the panel made me a bit twitchy.  Luckily we moved on to favorite lines, favorite plot points, and then... after that panel ended... the traditional end-of-Con screening of Once More With Feeling, the Buffy Musical.  As a sing-a-long.  With heckling.  It was amazing.  Especially the shouting of "you aren't even a real person!" every time Dawn showed up to screw things up and get into trouble.  As a nerd who knows every word, I was in heaven.

It was a brilliant farewell to Comic Con.  I walked away with a big ole grin on my face.  Until next year...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Report from Comic Con: Day Three

DAY THREE:
With my shiny new sunburn on the side of my neck (why the side? why?) I elected not to wake up at the crack of dawn to wait in line all day in hopes of seeing sneak peeks at Iron Man 3 or Family Guy.  Instead, today was my day to throw myself into smaller panels (some of which still had over a thousand people in them, but whatever, it's Comic Con, crowds are a given).

It all began with an Urban Fantasy panel, which was interesting, but turned out to be pretty much a "this is what my book/series is about" chorus rather than any in depth discussion of the genre or where it is heading.  Then I hung out for a preview of the tiny little indie movie Save the Date... which looks sort of Woodie-Allen-esque but the Woodie Allen of thirty years ago.  It was interesting to hear about the distribution of the film in particular because it will be available from IFC video-on-demand before it releases in theatres.  I know, right?  Curious.

Then it was time for the stuff I'd been giddy all day for.  Three Panels.   Three Amazing Talents.  (One ring to rule them all, one ring to... oh wait, no, that was going on in Hall H at the same time and I hadn't camped out so there was no way I was getting in to see it.)  No, my BIG THREE OF DAY THREE were Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies!!!), Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game!!!) and William Shatner (Khaaaaaaan!!!).  

It started with Bryan Fuller, talking about his two new reboots - a reworked darker, dramatic Munsters (which looks kinda AMAZING, y'all - Eddie Izzard as Grandpa? Dude.) called Mockingbird Lane (which is just a pilot now, but I seriously hope they make it to the series stage) and a new TV series prequel to Red Dragon called Hannibal - starting when no one knew that Hannibal the Cannibal was a serial killer.  (No clips of that one, but with Bryan Fuller's dark sense of humor, I'm psyched to see where it goes.  And I now have a shiny new "Eat the Rude" T-shirt that cracks me up.)  One audience member did ask how poor Mr. Fuller stays optimistic (he was a seriously chipper guy) considering how many of his shows get killed off (har) mid-season (Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me) when he plans them out for years (he mentioned having plans for the first seven seasons of Hannibal).  He said he'll always find ways work the ideas he loves into the next show and joked about not seeing death as a final thing (his "bag of trick"). 

Then it was off to the Wrinkle In Time panel, which a host of AMAZING speculative and sci-fi authors including the incomparable Orson Scott Card and David Brin - the two of whom GOT INTO IT.  It was kinda awesome watching them grow testier and testier as they verbally bitch-slapped each other as the panel went on.  It started out civil.  When talking about speculative fiction and predicting the future it became quickly evident that Orson Scott Card was on the "human nature doesn't change" side of the spectrum while Brin was on the "we're entering an age of enlightenment" side.  Card cited the Arab Spring (in what I felt were somewhat oversimplified terms) and referring to it as an unpredictable event followed by the very predictable patterns of human nature.  Brin countered by calling that cynicism and holding up the Turkish revolution for comparison (which, having recently visited Egypt & Turkey, I would like to state is so far from being comparable as to be laughable).  Card replied (correctly, I would say) that there was no comparison between the two and to claim there was only revealed ignorance of the situation... and then things really got going.  It was Brin citing racial and sexual equality as the great advancements of our age (which aren't new concepts to humanity, just recent in our cultural corner of it) while Card was talking about the fascination of watching Empires fall (though it is probably less fun to be watching from the inside as they outlive their grandeur).  The moderator intervened at one point... and then, after some questions from the audience, one guy got up to the mic and said he'd missed the beginning so he was sorry if this had already been discussed, but did the authors think we were entering a dark age or an enlightenment?  The reaction from the room was priceless.  Deborah Harkness answered it best, I think.  Even the Dark Ages weren't the Dark Ages.  "Be careful of big, baggy historical epoch markers."

There were other moments I loved, beyond the Card/Brin throwdown.  (Team OSC!)  When asked to predict the future (as an author of speculative fiction) Peter Hamilton said, "Sci-fi isn't a template. I'm setting out ideas."  It's up to the reader to be inspired to make them come true.

Earlier Brin also referenced an LA Times article about the rising popularity of TV over movies and how the TV writers were treated like rockstars at Comic Con because the fans recognized where the ideas were coming from.  Which was something I noticed also - the TV shows were the ones people were most excited about, I think in part because they weren't all reboots and sequels as most of the movies coming out these days seem to be.  And in part because watching a TV show becomes a longer term relationship and you already know you love it, you're looking forward to the next installment of awesomeness rather than wondering whether you will like the unknown quantity of the movie that isn't coming out until next year or the year after.  It was interesting to see.  But the idea kind of got eclipsed by the OSC/Brin ruckus. 

After that I rushed over to try to get into the Shatner panel.  I didn't think I had a prayer, but luck was with me and I made it in.  William Shatner, cult favorite director/producer Roger Corman, moderated by Kevin Smith.  It was casual and conversational and deeply awesome listening to these industry greats talking about their beginnings as they discussed their new films - for Shatner a documentary called Get a Life about Star Trek fans and what he learned when he set out to study them and for Corman a 3D campy fabulous pic entitled The Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader.  And, as I'm sure happens every time he speaks, a fan asked Mr. Shatner to shout "Khan!" and this time he suggested we all do it instead.  So, en masse, the entire audience bellowed, "Khaaaaaaan!"  And it was just as badass as you might imagine. 

Then I dropped in on a panel on World Building in Graphic Novels which was seriously fascinating.  World building for artists is something so different than it is for those of us who spin worlds out of words.  They would research architecture and make models - either by hand or with 3D computer mapping.  They talked about visual vs. dialogue exposition and hearsay vs. fact as the world is revealed to the reader.  Then they talked a bit about the struggle for continuity when you've grown as an artist and want to make them better but are inhibited by what you made them in the first book of the series.  It was so interesting to me to see artists who attack their stories so differently than I do, but who are still related to novelists in that we are all in the same storytelling family.  Loved it.

Next up was the Harper Voyager and Harper Teen sneak peeks (where I scored an advanced copy of Jocelyn Drake's Angel's Ink - about a tattoo artists who can imbue his tattoos with magical powers, how cool is that?).  And then finally it was time for the Comic Con Masquerade - which was campy and ridiculous and, yeah, kinda awesome.  You get a feel for the tone of the evening when the audience is allowed to announce the numbers of the contestants and they bellow en masse "One, ah ah ah" like the Count.  Yeah, baby, we know our Sesame Street.  And it just goes downhill (or up, depending on your perspective) from there.  With dancing and goodies in the Sails Pavillion, it's Comic Con's wild rumpus until the small hours.  And it isn't quite over yet...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Report from Comic Con: Day Two

First off, an apology for not getting these up sooner.  Turns out an eight to midnight conference schedule doesn't leave a whole lot of time for blogging.  Who knew?  Mea culpa and on to the report for Days Two!

DAY TWO:
Day Two started out with a line.  Of course.  I lined up at 9am, which I stupidly thought would be early enough for the 2:45pm panel on Game of Thrones. No such luck.  (Even the folks in front of me in full on Khal Drogo & Daenerys outfits were denied.)  Having already waited it out for six hours, I stuck with it until I made it into Hall H after GoT for the rest of the evening's panels and then hied myself on over to the playback (which they had to move to a bigger ballroom because there were so many people who'd missed out on seeing their preferred panels like me).  So, in the end, I got to see what I wanted (just not all of it in person), but what bothered me the most was that even as there were hundreds and even thousands of people waiting outside in line, there were empty seats in Hall H.  Never once while I was in there (finally!) was anyone asked to scoot down to make room for the people waiting outside.  In the smaller panels, it is common practice to fill every single seat and have standing room in the back until the fire marshal cuts them off.  But Hall H never felt full when I was in there - I saw dozens and dozens of empties just near me - which, when you consider how long people had to wait to get in there, kinda pissed me off and soured me on the idea of waiting in line to get in there again. 

But enough bitching.  Let's talk movies!

The first panel for me that day was Resident Evil: Retribution in 3D.  Director Paul Anderson, his wife/leading lady Mila Jovovich, and a deeply kickass supporting cast - two of whom are my FAVORITE actors who were killed off in previous films in the franchise!  Back from the dead and still kicking ass, it's Michelle Rodriguez (love love love love) and Oded Fehr!  Can I get a woohoo for resurrecting a dude who blew himself up and a chick who got shot in the head?  Bonus!  The footage they showed looked pretty sweet - very classic Resident Evil badassery -and then there was talk of the series drawing to a close after the next film (or at least Alice's part of it).  And I learned that Michelle Rodriguez will come back from the dead in the Fast & Furious franchise also (squee!) and that if you are a creepy stalker in her backyard, you should be warned that she will call the cops while holding a sword and the gun Samuel L. Jackson gave her, so... you know... perhaps not the best idea to bug her.

Continuing the trend of directors married to their ass-kicking leading ladies, next up was the new Total Recall, helmed by Kate Beckinsale's significant other, Len Wiseman. It looks well worth seeing - without any of the annoyingly cute Ahnold one liners and without the trip to Mars (but with the chick with three breasts as a nod to the original).  Much more actiony and who-am-I mystery-ish with some nice grit to the design.  And Kate Beckinsale kicking Colin Farrel's teeth in?  I'll watch that. 

But then... oh then... it was time for the ORIGINAL coolness.  Looper.  Time travel.  Joseph Gordon Levitt (in a part that was actually written for him) wearing a light facial mask to play a young Bruce Willis in an assassin vs. the older version of himself badass time-travel ride.  I gotta say, I really wanna see that one.  It's a major picture but with a more indie sensibility - focused on the ideas and characters rather than the special effects tricks - with an insanely awesome cast.

And the fun was just beginning folks.  Up next was footage from Elysium, the second film by Neil Blomquist who was the mind behind District 9.  I'd never heard anything about this one - just that it had Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in it (along with the star of District 9 & A Team, Sharlto Copley).  I wasn't sure what to expect, but when they showed us the footage, I actually got chills.  By the time it was over I just said Damn as several people near me muttered "Whoa" and "Wow" aloud.  The premise of the story is that the uber-rich have built a paradise in space called Elysium where they have the cures to all diseases and everything is perfect and utopian - but they've abandoned the rest of humanity to live in squalor on the heavily polluted planet Earth.  Matt Damon is our earthbound hero with a questionable past, who finds himself with only a few days to live unless he can hijack his way up to Elysium and get the cure.  A man with his life on the line, nothing to lose... you can imagine how it escalates in a hurry.  And from the sounds of things, the filming was flat out intense - on location in the second largest dump in the world at one point, with helicopters spraying a mist of you do not want to know what that is all over the place.  Crazy.  But it looks incredible.  It's out next March.  Go, you guys.  You will want to see this one.

After that, I made my way out to the Penguin Books panel where they flashed new covers for dozens of upcoming urban fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult books.  I really want to check out Matched by Ally Condie.  I'm intrigued by the idea of rebelling against a genetically perfect match.  Have any of you read that series yet?  Then I won an ARC of a new sci-fi book by Jean Johnson!  (And then felt guilty for winning, even though they were giving away tons of books... I don't know why I have this weird guilt when people give me stuff.  I need a couch and a few hours with Freud to figure it out.)

By then it was night, but Comic Con was still going strong, with playback of the earlier panels that we, the huddled masses, hadn't been able to get into.  Firefly, Game of Thrones, The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead (though I admitted defeat at midnight and missed the Zombie-ness). 

The Firefly 10-year reunion panel was flat out amazing.  Nathan Fillion and Joss Wheadon were in rare form (and both teared up in very manly ways as they talked about what the short-lived series had meant to them).  Adam Baldwin gave away a replica of the hat he'd worn as Jayne, but to me the best part was learning that Baldwin had gone down to say hello to the fans camped out on the sidewalk for the Firefly panel around midnight and Joss Wheadon himself had woken them up at three a.m.  How kickass is that?  If I am ever lucky enough to write something that develops such a devoted fanbase that they will actually camp out (and I'm in the same city and I know about it) I am here and now vowing that I will visit the campers.  And bring donuts.  Because how amazing are they, to love something so much, and what better way to honor them than to show up for them when they are showing up for you?  I love that.  Love love love.

The Game of Thrones panel was, by comparison, somewhat less than awesome.  They introduced new cast members, which was cool, but my main takeaway was that George R. R. Martin, for all his brilliance as a writer, should probably avoid moderating panels as his talents apparently lie elsewhere.  The tone was... I dunno, awkward.  He asked the actors portraying Theon Greyjoy and Rob Stark about their sex scenes and questioned the actress playing Daenerys why the traditional dresses of Qarth were not the breast-baring ones in the books (though if I'm being accurate the word "boobies" may actually have come out of his mouth).  I know he's a genius, but a moderator needs to put the panelists at ease and make them feel comfortable talking and there was just no comfort there.  Overall, it was peculiar - but I loved hearing the actor playing Rob Stark (who was wearing a wolf T-shirt under his suit jacket) say he'd pick a wolf as his sigil in real life, and Emilia Clark got a big cheer when she said she would definitely keep her dragons as a sigil.

And last, but certainly not least, was the Big Bang Theory.  The panel was hosted by Adam from Mythbusters (amazing) and featured two of the writer/producers as well as Mayim Byalik (Amy), Jim Parsons by Skype from New York (Sheldon), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Kunal Nayyar (Rajesh), Simon Helberg (Howard) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette - who does an amazing impression of Howard's mother).  The writers waved their uber-geek flags with pride when the Higgs Boson particle came up as the actors willingly admitted to not understanding a word of the science stuff coming out of their mouths on the show.  The panel was charming, funny, and overall a delight... and then the conversation turned to space.  In what was (I think?) a prearranged schtick, Simon Helberg was asked if he would want to go into space like his character had and when he said "who wouldn't?" they brought out an astronaut from XCOR Aerospace and offered him a trip into space.  Helberg then said he hadn't known they were serious and he had a "thing" about altitude and it was quickly changed to giving one of the audience members the space flight.  The fans who had asked questions (who were over eighteen - a stunning number of the questions were asked by little kids, prompting Kunal to repeatedly wondering what was going on here and where everyone's parents were) were all brought up on stage and given shiny envelopes.  When they tore them open simultaneously, one contained a golden ticket for a flight into space.  How badly do I wish I were that chick right now?  (Though I know I wouldn't have been even had I managed to get in, since I never have the gumption to ask questions.)  Lots of panels gave away swag, but how do you top a trip into space?  SPACE, you guys!  I don't care if it's only lower orbit or upper atmosphere or whatever.  It's SPACE.  I have to think that within my lifetime it will be a popular tourist jaunt.  And I'll be there.  I'll definitely be there.

What about you?  If someone offered you a chance to see the earth from space, would you take it?  Would you strap yourself to a rocket? When do you think it will be as common as taking a cruise?  Oooh, is that the next step?  Carnival Space Cruises?  Does make one a bit more nervous about events like the Costa Concordia, doesn't it?  But it makes me think of the Fifth Element.  Would you got to paradise in orbit?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Report from Comic Con: Day One

First Impression of Comic Con?  Fun!

Second Impression of Comic Con?  Massive sensory overload.

Third Impression of Comic Con?  Oh-my-freaking-gods, the crowds.  There are people everywhere.  And the lines. 

My first day at Comic Con was awesome and a huge learning experience.  I learned that you've gotta have strategy to navigate this behemoth Con successfully - the lines for Hall H and Ballroom 20 could easily suck up hours of your day and that was on Thursday!  The least crowded day of the Con!

I got my badge (quick and easy, it was running smooth when I was there) and immediately went to the Exhibition Hall to gawk. 
I meant to go to a Stan Lee panel (with Mark Hamil, y'all!), but ended up in 6A rather than 6BCF and what should I find instead?  A panel on the upcoming Dreamworks/Cartoon Network weekly cartoon series Dragons: Riders of Berk which follows Hiccup, Toothless and their cohorts as the dragons and their riders learn how to live in harmony.  The first two seasons of this show will apparently flow smoothly into the second How to Train Your Dragon movie.  Cool beans, huh?  They got a lot of the same actors to do voices as well as adding some new talent (America Ferrera as Astrid, Mark Hamil as a villain, and Tim Conway (!!!!) as comic relief).

After that, I grabbed some lunch and got in line for the Tim Burton/Sam Raimi/John C. Reilly panel (or as everyone called it "the Disney panel" since they were doing Frankenweenie, Wreck It Ralph & Oz.  I was lucky to be next to some fantastically awesome people in line, so fun was had by all, but we didn't get into the panel... after over an hour of waiting.  (Ugh.)  I did however learn, while chatting with some guys from Warner Brothers who shall remain nameless that they canNOT (wink wink) confirm that they are positioning themselves with the new Superman for a new Justice League franchise.  HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE???  I just need a second to geek out.  (Except for the fact that they would all be from the UK.  Seriously, what is with all the superheroes turning British?  Batman, Superman, Spiderman... at least they can all fake American.)

Because I'm an academic nerd, next I went to a panel on The Future of Superhero Studies in academia.  It was interesting and I have some thoughts of validity of pop culture, the cultural studies approach, and the adaptation and iterations of comic franchises... but that's too much for this lil update.  A blog for another day.

After that it was back in line, this time for Dexter and this time I did get in!  We got an EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK at the first two minutes of next season and OMG I can't wait for September!  Then two of the executive producers and three cast members (Michael C Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, and... drumroll please, this season's guest star, Yvonne Strahovsky from Chuck fame! who sounds so different with her natural accent...) chatted about the show and answered questions. 

I hurried from there off to another panel about composing music for video games - particularly video games based on film franchises with distinctive film scores (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Dark Knight, etc.).  It was seriously cool listening to these five composers talk about their work - even though they weren't allowed to say much about upcoming projects.

By then it was getting late and even though there was a Dr. Horrible Sing-A-Long coming up, I was running on empty and admitted defeat.  Hopefully tonight I'll have more stamina.

Today involved the dreaded choice between waiting in the ungodly line for The Big Bang Theory or waiting in the ungodly line for Firefly.  Normally, I'd go with Firefly (because my epic love of it knows no bounds), but if I don't go to Big Bang Theory, I might not get into Game of Thrones (because they don't clear the room between panels).  It's all about the strategy.  Wish me luck and much geeking out! Until the next update... don't cross the streams!


Monday, July 9, 2012

A Super Sequel!

Guess what, boys and girls? I'm going to COMIC CON this week!!! I anticipate many squealing fangirl moments when my inner nerd comes out to play. And what better time than as I am packing for Nerd Mecca to release the second sexy superhero novella? That's right, y'all. It's here! Superbad, the follow up to Superlovin', is now available at an ebook retailer near you! Observe:

When your mind is a prison, love can set you free.

Ever since her supervillain father experimented on her as a child, Mirabelle “Mirage” Wroth has been able to project unbreakable illusions into the minds of those around her. But when a run-in with an evil Mind Bender snaps a delicate thread in her psyche, she loses control of her gift and can no longer tell where reality ends and illusion begins. Only sanctimonious superhero Captain Justice is immune to her gift and can help her find the truth again—if Mirage can trust another man to define her reality.

Justice is sick of saving damsels in distress–he just wants someone to look beyond the cape to see him—but he can’t turn away from the hauntingly vulnerable Mirage. Suddenly Justice is helping her hide from the police, willing to be downright villainous to be her hero. But as they work to save Mirage from herself, other forces are circling to threaten them both. Tangled in illusions and mind games, can love be real? 


Buy from Amazon :: Nook :: Smashwords

So far the early buzz I'm getting on this one has confirmed my "I have a good feeling about this book" feeling.  I can't wait to see if the wide world loves it as much as I think they will.  Go forth and read, my minions! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Close Encounters of the Alaskan Kind

I often post pics of my travels, but there today I'm sharing some of the deeply kickass things right in my own back yard.  Some weekends just seem to serve to remind me how awesome Alaska is and this was definitely one of them.  It started yesterday as we were headed up to the Denali National Park for a family getaway.  We hadn't even made it out of our neighborhood before we saw this fella:


Now there have been a ton of eagles this year and the usual crop of moose, but even though people had said this was a big year for bear (and we'd seen plenty of evidence of them), this was the first I'd seen this summer.  Right outside the car window.  Maybe ten feet away.  A nice beginning to the trip.

We headed up to the park, finding the only gorgeous weather in the state, and this morning we took a hike up Savage River inside the park.


We passed a family of dahl sheep up on a hill and kept walking, taking a jog off the main trail over some rocks until that off-shoot pretty much dead ended into the river.  And just as we were turning back toward the main path, we saw them.  That same family of dahl sheep.  Blocking our way.  And coming closer.  And closer.


(No zoom, boys and girls, they really were that close.  Maybe twenty feet away.  If that.)

Now, the sheep aren't aggressive, but they can do some damage if they thwack into you with those horns, so we gave them the right of way, backing up as much as we could until they decided to veer down to the river, where we got an up-close-and-personal view of them crossing (a rarity, according to a nature photographer we chatted with after the sheep had disappeared over the next hill).


(What you don't see in this picture is that the one behind just thwacked the jumper on the butt with his horns because he was taking too long.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I'm a lucky brat.  Today was a good day.