Monday, May 28, 2012

For the Rest of the Week...

There won't be any posts. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I'm going to be working my ass off on Shades of Blood, doing my best to get it finished and to the editor so you guys can get it in your greedy hands. (Totally a compliment, I promise). So--no blog posts until SoB is finished.

Try not to pine for me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Random Thursday: I Had A Thought. And Then I Lost It.

Really, I did. I promise. I was even going to go find pictures, which as you all know, is a major thing for me. I don't believe in searching for pictures. It just annoys me. Although I did like the cat one from last week. And now I feel like I should burn my bad-ass-bitch card because I just admitted to liking a crazy Internet cat photo.

Moving on.

My birthday is in 9 days (or 10 depending on your time zone and how you do your counting)! I will be turning the dreaded Big 3-0. I would care a lot more than I do if I actually looked thirty. Thanks to genetics, an aversion to sunlight, and a lot of vodka, I don't look thirty. Points for me. And thanks to the salon, I don't even know if I have gray hair because I haven't seen my natural hair color since I was like...19. Maybe 20.

Also randomly running through my mind: Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilage". I may have the spelling and title wrong, but it's one of those articles that if you go to college you end up reading like three or four times. I have no idea why it's running through my head. Okay, I have something of an idea, but since it also corresponds with a criminology study that I can't remember all the details on and a whole shit ton of other stuff, I'm not going to talk about it. I feel like there are times I might have been a good investigative journalist, but then I remember my friend who got her degree in journalism and is stuck writing fluffy articles in order to build a portfolio and I decide that if I'm going to write fluff, it'll be fluff of my own choosing. Anyway, McIntosh's article will come back into play at some point. I feel it. I just don't know when.

I have a slew of guest posts/spots coming up in the next few months, so be on the lookout for those. I'm also attending DragonCon for the first time. More details on that as I figure them the hell out.

Now--I'm off to write one of those aforementioned guest posts and do some work on Shades of Blood. Off day? What off day?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Recap--Guilty Pleasures Chapter 4

First off: appreciate this. Because instead of writing this, I really want to be reading the new Mira Grant book, Blackout, that I've been waiting an entire year for. But I'm slogging my way through a chapter, so...appreciate. That's all I'm saying.

There was an undercurrent of fear. That peculiar terror that you get on roller coasters and at horror movies. Safe terror.

Every time I see a bit like this I get super excited and then I feel sad. Excited because hey, that's a decent spat of writing. Not instant orgasm wonderful, but decent. And then I feel sad because I remember how things turn out.

We get some buildup from Jean-Claude about the club, Guilty Pleasures, and then he introduces the first dancer, Phillip. Apparently Phillip is the shit. The women go absolutely wild. Maybe it's the calibre of strip clubs I've been in, but nobody ever gets super excited about any one particular dancer. But the places I've been to have been kind of seedy so, hey, who knows.

Phillip is....special. I think that's the nicest way to say it. He's scarred up, but they're not normal scars. They're vampires scars, from various bites and gnawing and what have you. This is apparently a turn on for a lot of people. Not for Anita, and I'm not really blaming her on this one. Catherine is freaked out, too. Monica is eating this shit up. Actually, she's eating Phillip up.

She was sucking the wound....Her eyes hel that lazy fullness that sex gives....she was basking in the afterglow.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, another vampire is. He's not as awesome as Jean-Claude on a variety of levels and Anita enjoys getting the one-up on him.

There's nothing like ruining the calm of a hundred-year-old vampire to boost a girl's morale.

Admittedly, this does seem pretty flippin' awesome.

What follows is something both clever and disturbing. I won't ruin things for you, because while I do think it's one of Hamilton's better sections of writing so far (I'm trying to forget all the books that came after, so don't laugh at me), there are some legitimate questions and they all stem from Anita's perceptions and reactions.

Without throwing out any spoilers, I think my description of Phillip above would lead you to the impression that he's a vampire junkie. Anita seems shocked to shit and back. I don't get this. She works with the police, she's an animator (i.e. can raise zombies for a bit), and gives the impression of being up to date on the legal dealings that have happened as a result of vampires coming out of the coffin (and I totally can't remember where the phrase came from, but I think it was Charlaine Harris). Why isn't she up to date on the social/cultural going ons? I'm always astounded by the belief that the cultural aspects of anything can be ignored without long-ranging consequences. As a "vampire hunter", you would think she would want to know everything possible about her prey.

Which kind of leads in to my second point. The emotion that I pick up the most from Anita in regard to vampires is fear. This isn't a bad thing, per se, but I don't think it's necessarilly a good thing. What I've gathered from just television and books and documentaries and life in general is that if you're hunting something, especially something just as lethal if not more so than yourself, you need to have some level of respect for the prey. This may sound silly, but case in point: The Avengers. Both Loki and his backers essentially write off humanity as nothing more than a bug to be squashed and in the end they lose. Having respect for your prey/enemy doesn't mean you want to buy them a beer and talk about your differences--to me, it means that you see not only their weak points, but their strong ones, because your mind is open to the idea of them having strong points. It's a little convoluted but I can't think of a simple way to break it down. In the end, I don't see Anita as having a lot of respect for her prey, which may come back to (haha) bite her in the end.

After the show with Phillip and Robert (the other vampire--sorry, forgot to mention that), Anita gets a beep. Because even though she's not on-call, she still carries a beeper with her. I guess I missed the part where she's like a doctor. Anita and Jean-Claude have another pseudo-sexual exchange and then she's off like a turd of hurdles.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Buildup!

First things first: I'm pushing the release date back to June 22. Why, may you ask? Because I feel like a bitch asking my editor for two rush jobs in a row. And because I want to make sure this gets done right. After that, you guys will get the next Frankie Post book Labor Day weekend, followed by Jude right around Halloween and Cari about two weeks before Christmas. And then next year: Winged!

Moving on. To keep you on your toes about what's going on with Jude, take a look at this. Warning: It's a little longer than usual, but I couldn't find a place to cut it. I still don't think I picked a good spot, but whatever.

“I’m concerned because part of my job is seeing justice done. I don’t care if Felipe belongs to you, Jude, or the Pope himself.” Duprees crossed himself before he’d finished his sentence and I bit my cheek to keep from giggling. “If I’m right, he’s already killed two individuals. And he’ll kill more.”
“Don’t you remember, Detective? We’re already dead.” Again the brief and twisted smile. “Since you can accomplish more in your role as police liaison than I can hope to simply through harassment and bribery, we’ll try things your way for now. I’ll have Mickeal begin inquiries.”
“Thank you.” Duprees stood, glancing at the ceiling. I rolled my eyes because I knew what was coming. “I’ll just head upstairs. See what everyone’s up to.”
Williams waited until the door shut quietly behind him. “Why would he want to see what shenanigans are occurring?”
“He doesn’t. He’s looking for Danie.” I picked up the tea, not surprised to find it only lukewarm when I took a sip. “He has a thing for her.”
“A ‘thing’? Could you possibly define that for me?” Williams pressed the fingers of one hand to his temple, holding the other palm out. “Never mind. I trust you to deal with it. To deal with her.”
“I don’t think anyone knows how to deal with her.” Although there was a quirk spurt of pride at his belief in my abilities. “She’s so angry. And not the crazy temper fits dhampirs are prone to having.”
“I see you’ve been doing some research.” The edges of his mouth tilted up for the barest of seconds. “I was more than a little unprepared the first time the rage came over her.”
“Well, she helped.” I set the tea aside, settled back into the cushions. I was going to be ready for a nap here soon. The baby books hadn’t joked about the energy drain. “After the first one she told us what had happened, what to look for, what to expect. Now whenever her eyes start glowing Mickeal or one of the guard haul her up to her room and lock her in.”
“How much furniture has she damaged?”
“Surprisingly little.” I wouldn’t tell him about the bed hangings. Elizabeth had stood in the door of Danie’s room and cried when she saw what Danie had done to the velvet. Apparently it was older than even Lisette had been. “But still, she’s so angry. And I don’t know why.”
“Her mother’s dead. Her family shunned her before Danie’s birth, mostly due to her association with my brother.” Williams started tapping his fingers on his knee again, head tilted back, eyes closed. “The only family she has is a father she never met and never will and an uncle who has more experience in dealing with the females of a whorehouse than a teenage girl. I believe you’d be angry as well.”
“I was more concerned with surviving.” I pressed a hand against my side when one of the bumps gave an extra hard nudge. “Ouch.”
“For the love of God, do not say that.” Williams’s head jerked upright as suddenly as if it was attached to a pulled string. “Do not say or do anything to imply that something is amiss with your condition.”
“One of them just kicked a little. Calm down.” I couldn’t keep the laugh out of my voice because his reaction was so typically male. The easiest way to clear a room these days was for me to do anything pregnancy related. Almost everyone with a penis fled like they were being chased by wildebeests. “They like to express their own views on some situations and the kicking is how it tends to happen.”
“And what view was being expressed?” The smile was bigger this time and I smiled back before I could catch myself. Something was very wrong with my hormones.
“If I had to guess, I would say one of them didn’t care for me being sarcastic towards you.” I winced when there was another kick, this one just a little sharper. “That would be a yes.”
“Interesting. But I’ll take all the friends I can get.” Williams blinked, the lazy amusement in his eyes clearing. “Has Danie taken to listening in on people’s conversations?”
“What?” Before I could ask him to explain, the door opened without any announcing knock. Theo left the door open, crossing the room to stand behind the sofa. His lips on the top of my head were as scorching as a sunburn and I bit back a sigh. “Something wrong, Theo?”
“I caught Duprees roaming the hallways, looking somewhere between lost and embarrassed.” Normally I didn’t mind when he worked at the almost ever-present knot between my shoulder blades. But I had a feeling he was in the room more out of jealousy than a need to dote. “I sent him down to the kitchen.”
“What’s Danie doing in the kitchen?” My eyes widened as I remembered who else had been there. “Tell me Elizabeth finished the accounts.”
“Rian talked Elizabeth into joining Lies and Samuel in a game of cards.” I wanted to be thankful at the amusement I could hear in Theo’s voice but I knew it was only momentary. “Of course, you can’t really play cards with three, so he was obligated to join them.”
“One step forward. I wonder what’s going to cause the two steps back.” I frowned as my brain finally started piecing things together. “Danie’s in the kitchen? Are you sure?”
“She was when I left her not five minutes ago. And while she’s made it her life’s mission to find every secret passage in the house, she seemed determined to cook something, I’m not sure what.” Theo’s hands tightened almost painfully on my shoulders but I held back the wince. “Why?”
I ignored him and addressed Williams, who was watching us with only a smidgen of curiosity. “Why would you ask if Danie had started eavesdropping?”
“Because I can feel the presence of a dhampir. Very slight, but I do feel it.” Williams frowned and tilted his head to the side. “Or I did. I don’t feel it now.”
“What is that, another predator thing?” How many special abilities did a species need?
“Since dhampirs kill us, it’s more of a prey instinct.” Williams arched an eyebrow. “This is interesting. If it’s not Danie, who is it?”
“Well, it’s not me. And it’s not Theo.” I tilted my head back to look up at him. At his head shake I lowered my chin to look at Williams. “And it’s not you.”
“That would seem to be everyone in the room.” As soon as Theo finished his statement, one of the bumps kicked me hard enough I saw stars for a moment. The pain caused me to double over, fight for a deep breath. “Jude?”
“We’re not the only people here.” I had a sick, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Or it might have been my heart. “Twins, remember?”
“Yeah, I remember.” Theo came around the couch, sat on the sofa next to me. “And?”
“Theo.” I turned towards him, took his face in my hands. Blind denial looks a lot like stupidity if you don’t look hard enough. “We can pretend it never happened, but it did. Just as sure as the next night happened.”
“I’m sorry.” Williams’s apology was full of politeness and question. “Are you implying what I think you are?”
                “That God or Fate is playing a very cruel joke and giving the two bumps two different fathers?” I sucked in a breath when I felt two kicks, one of each side. “Yeah. That’s what I’m implying.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

Media Monday--Season Review of Smash!

I'm a lover of musicals. That's the easiest way to say it. I fell in love with musicals after watching The Sound of Music when I was like 10 and it's just sort of gone from there. When I went to New York in March, I saw Anything Goes on Broadway and I felt like I had achieved something truly monumental in life. So obviously, when Smash premiered back in February, I was on board from the get-go.

Smash had a ton of ups and downs. A TON. It was like the proverbial roller coaster, but in television form (which is one of the few roller coasters I'll do, because I'm afraid of heights). At the center of everything, though, was the big question:

Who will play Marilyn?

Would it be the seasoned Broadway veteran, Ivy Lynn, who finally had her big break in reach? Or would it be Karen Cartwright, still farm girl fresh, struggling for her own shot at fame and glory? (I'm not counting the movie star, because I think everyone knew she wouldn't keep the role in the end)

Each girl had her strong points. Ivy, as mentioned before, is a veteran of Broadway. She's paid her dues. She understands the grueling schedule and demands of a show. She gets both parts of the phrase "show business". Karen, on the other hand, brings an innocence to the role of the bombshell (a fitting title for the fledgling show) that can't be faked. Her voice is, for me at least, superior to Ivy's--this isn't to say Ivy's voice was bad, because it wasn't. Karen's voice simply resonated more, with one notable exception (Ivy Lynn's rendition of I'm Going Down).

In the end, that innocence won Karen Cartwright the role, even if it may have cost her a wedding.

The Affair of the Affair

Viewers and critics alike came down harsh on the relationship between Michael Swift (Joe DiMaggio) and Julia Houston (Debra Messing). One of the most common complaints was how it did--or rather--didn't handle the reality of an affair. The reality is: THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO WRITE AN AFFAIR. I'm sorry, but there isn't. Back when I was young and stupid (which I sometimes think the two words go hand in hand), I was very firm about cheating. I wouldn't do it and I expected the same from my partner. As I've gotten older and been kicked in the teeth more by life, I've gotten more flexible. I can see how people can either fall into or actively engage in an affair. And I can see how some couples can come back from an affair. I think Smash handled the situation in one of a hundred ways, which doesn't make it right or wrong. It just makes it one way to handle it.

I planned to make this post longer, but honestly, those were the two big issues with Smash, at least as far as I'm aware. I don't spend a lot of time on message boards, so who knows. And I'm sure my opinions are not popular. Whatever.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recap Thursday

So, my apologies for not getting this done yesterday. I'd like to say I had a good reason. But I don't. I got off work, went home, crawled into bed and passed out. And then I got up, took a shower, ate dinner, and went to the bar.

I guess part of it is I'm just feeling overwhelmed. I set deadlines for myself that, while not impossible, aren't easy, and I'm too stubborn to admit I've probably screwed the pooch a little. I'm not ridiculously behind, maybe about 2-3 weeks, which I kind of built in to my calculations, but still. I hate being late. It's one of my pet peeves. And I hate it more so when it's at least 75% my fault.

Okay. Enough whining. On to the recap.

Monica Vespucci was wearing a button that said, "Vampires are People, too." It was not a promising beginning to the evening.

I'd say this isn't a promising beginning to the chapter. To be absolutely literal, the button isn't wrong. Vampires are people--they just happen to be dead, which may not have been clarified, but if this was a true/false question on an exam, the answer would be TRUE.

Follow this up with possibly the shortest physical description we'll see of a character and the following sentence:

The button should have tipped me off to what kind of bachelorette party she'd planned.

And I think it's safe to say Monica is not going to be on Anita's good side. Foreshadowing with a hammer is not subtle.

Then we get an entire paragraph of description on Anita. Very, very, detailed description. Six color words in one paragraph. First page, we've got eight colors. I feel like I've wandered into a Crayola commercial or something.

I was wearing black jeans, knee-high boots, and a crimson blouse. My hair was made to order for the outfit, black curling just over the shoulders of the red blouse. The solid, nearly black-brown of my eyes matches the hair. Only the skin stands out, too pale, Germanic against the Latin darkness.

I have a few problems with this. Just a few. First, there's all the lovely repetition going on here. Second, since you bought the clothes and not the hair (I'm assuming), you hair wasn't made to order, the outfit was. Third, being pale doesn't make you Germanic and having dark hair and dark eyes doesn't make you Latin. I'm sorry, but it's the truth. I'm super pale--like if you wander down the make-up aisle and look at foundations I'm the second lightest color pale--but I'm not German. Most of my ancestry is Scottish and Irish with some English thrown in for the hell of it. I've dyed my hair damn near every natural color, from my actual blonde to super dark red/brown. I actually look tanner/darker with darker hair. It's like one of those optical illusions. I'm willing to concede this doesn't work for everyone, but either way, being pale doesn't make you Germanic looking. Moving on now.

I had left my gun locked in the trunk of my car. I didn't think the bachelorette party would get that out of hand.

I think this is what really bothers me. Out of all the dreck, these two lines shine. It's actually funny. I would say something like this, because I'm a sarcastic bitch. These little gems of humor give you hope, only to dash it with the absolute boring-ness of everything else.

We get some Anita meanness, followed by Catherine (the friend who's getting married--I feel like I may have missed that little bit during the last recap), who must have the patience of a saint to put up with her, telling her to be polite. And then we get one of those great, back-handed compliments that only women can really pull off.

I've never been able to decide if Catherine would be prettier if she cut her hair, so you'd notice the face first, or if the hair was what made her pretty.

That's a bitch move right there. Sorry, but it is. And about someone who's supposed to be your friend? Bad form, darling, bad form.

There's some more banal description followed by the kind of female interaction designed to make Catherine and Monica look weak and Anita look super tough. Sorry, I don't meet a lot of women in their mid to late twenties who still throw out words like "pooh" and "stick-in-the-mud", at least not with a straight face. Maybe I'm around a lot of cynical bitches, but we tend to stick with the more traditional "damn" and "fuck" and "shit". Or maybe we just have potty mouths.

The sign was a wonderful swirling neon the color of heart blood.

Again, this is one of those times where some clarification would be prudent. Is this blood still in the heart or not? If it's not, then it's not heart blood, which would make it red. If it is in the heart, then it's not really red red, even though it's in the same color. I'm not a medical genius, but you hear quite often that blood doesn't actually turn red until it's exposed to oxygen. Nitpicks. Moving on.

More colors, more words wasted on someone who may or may not be a throwaway character. I mean, dude gets a name, but that don't mean shit. Guilty Pleasures is the hottest ticket in town, by the way, but apparently there's no line. Maybe our party of three got there early. Who knows.

Then we meet Jean-Claude.

He looked like a vampire was supposed to look.

Wow, that's not judgemental at all, is it?

We get some sexy moments, although to me they're a combination of good manners and performance. If you're a club owner, you're friendly and flirtatious to a lot of people. It's good for business. Still, Anita manages to turn the entire exchange into a mind-fuck/seduction, followed by the requisite pissing match. Three chapters, three pissing matches. This girl is happy with NO ONE. That must be exhausting.

I'll admit, the idea of a holy item check girl at a vampire-centric club is smart. It's one of those tiny details that actually help make the world and scene instead of detracting from it. Unlike this:

You really need eye contact to play tough.

No, actually, you don't. I've personally found it pretty damn easy to be a hard-ass without looking someone in the face. The impression doesn't come from actions but from attitude. I've managed to piss people off simply by not looking at them--people think it's dismissive, which it kind of is, but it gets the point across that I can't be bothered wasting any time with you, which is one way of being tough. Maybe it's a regional thing, who knows.

Anita finally gives up the cross and the evening of fun can start. We also, finally, find out what Guilty Pleasures is--the world's ONLY vampire strip club. I'm curious as to how they can make this claim. You would think Vegas would have cashed in on this little market two years ago when the "vampires are human" thing got figured out. Apparently, you would have thought wrong.

We get some creepy interaction between Jean-Claude and Anita--or at least it's supposed to be creepy. I don't really think a man blowing me a kiss after he's been flirting with me is creepy, but I hang out in sketchy bars, so maybe I'm a little warped.

Color count: (including repeats and generalities) 19

Page count: 6

Drink count: None (it's 9 in the morning--I have work to do today, I can't get schwasted) 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Buildup--The Inspiration Behind Shades of Blood

So, like Shades of Desire, Shades of Blood does have a historical base that I'm building on. It's funny, because it's very, very hard to find a good, bare bones version of the story. I was originally told the story (both of them, actually) by a tour guide on a Haunted History Tour in New Orleans. Some of the guides are more informative than others, making it a little hit and miss. The version below, which is the closest I can find at the moment, gives some background on the mysterious Felipe.

John and Wayne Carter were brothers. Seemed to be normal in every aspect. Had normal labor jobs down by the river and lived on a street in the French Quarter. It was the 1930’s and times were hard. So a man worked all he could and rested when he could. One day, a girl was reported to have escaped from the Carter brothers’ apartment, and ran to the authorities. Her wrists were cut. Not enough to cause immediate death, but more so, to drain slowly of that red source of life, over the course of several days. The policemen ran to this 3rd story apartment and found 4 others tied to chairs with their wrists sliced in the same fashion also. Some had been there for many days. The story was that both of these brothers had abducted each of them and would drink their blood at the end of every day when they came home from work. They also found about 14 other dead bodies. The cops waited that night for the return of the brothers and when they did, it took 7 to 8 of them to hold down these two averaged size men who had been doing manual labor all day. A few years later when they were finally executed, the bodies were placed in a New Orleans vault. Cemeteries in New Orleans are fanciful in their own making. Not only are they more ornate than the rest of our nation’s, but they recycle them using the same vault over and over again. The remains sift down into the back, bottom of the vault, when it is all rubble, and the new body is slid inside. After many years, they were placing some other Carter in this grave and what they found in the vault was nothing. No John or Wayne. They were gone. To this day, many sightings have occurred in the French Quarter that match the descriptions of these two brothers almost exactly. Years later, an owner of their apartment, saw two figures that resembled them outside on their balcony one night whispering to each other. Both figures jumped off the top of the 3rd story balcony and took off running.

The rumor is that if a vampire drinks of your blood 7 nights in a row, then and only then can you become a vampire. Some of those kidnapped in the Carter brothers apartment had been there over 7 days. One warped fellow, named Felipe, went on to become one of the nation’s biggest serial killer. And of course, he would do more than just kill them, he was believed to drink all 32 of his victims’ blood. --orignially posted at
The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

How will all this come together with Jude, Theo, Williams, and Duprees? Well, for that you'll have to wait and see. (Hey--I rhymed. Look at that!)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Media Monday


Really, that's all I have to say. Even though the book scare the ever loving shit out of me, I'm so excited I can barely stand it. I will be rushing to the bookstore as soon as I get off work next Tuesday and it better be there--or else.

No Mira Grant?!?  What the Hell?!?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Special Saturday--Recap of Guilty Pleasures, Chapter Two

It’s that time again. Time to recap another chapter of Guilty Pleasures. I’m doing it half asleep, so I can give it a fairly unbiased review. If I’m fully awake my annoyance may get the better of me.
Right off the bat I’m scratching my head.

St. Louis has more tress edging its highways than any other city I have driven through.

I’m scratching my head because I’m not entirely sure where she’s going with this. Is she saying there’s a lot of canopy roads in St. Louis? A quick Google shows St. Louis to… not have a lot of canopy roads. So the trees can’t be too close. But the word choice indicates neither are they too far away. It’s such a throw away line in the grand scheme of things that I have no idea why it’s there, other than to give Anita something to complain about.

Which is followed by more complaining and the first color of the chapter. Her apartment is depressingly white and cheerful. Yes, scratch your head on that. It’s depressing or it’s cheerful. Pick one. Build off of that. Oh wait, she does, following it up by calling the walls vanilla ice cream white. I’m surprised we didn’t get a more detailed description—french vanilla, creamy vanilla, etc. Juxtapose that with a description of dog poop brown carpet (thankfully not hers) and I’m pretty turned off food for the moment.

Then there’s some bitching about the windows. Yes, the windows. I get that if you’re working night shift, you hate sunlight like (hahaha) vampires, but once your internal clock gets used to the switch, it doesn’t make a difference if it’s light out or not. You’ll sleep. I know, I’ve worked plenty of night shifts and I’ve known plenty of people who work night shifts.

But everybody needs something to bitch about.

Sleep sucked me under to the soft music of Chopin. A minute later the phone rang.

This is something I don’t understand. If you’re tired enough to pretty much pass out, there’s a good possibility you’re not going to hear the phone, especially when you first go under. And again, if you do most of your work at night or in hurried circumstances, you can pretty much train your brain to just shut off. Doctors are (in)famous for these. So either she’s not really that asleep or she’s just that awesome.

Wait. I think I know the answer to that.

Oh, but hold on. A quick glance at the bedside clock shows it’s been two hours. This is one of those cases where an extra word or two would have gone a long way.

Not that it matters, since in the next hundred or so words we get told Anita only had two hours of sleep three different times. This is the problem I’m having with this book already. Nothing gets said about the most basic of things at what would be considered the appropriate time and then you get hammered with it repeatedly. This could prove annoying.

Much like Anita finds Monica. Granted, I find anyone who wakes me up when I’m not ready to get up annoying. I think most people do. But Anita sort of next levels it, if you will. Even while she says she’s not that rude, she pretty much is. And she’s condescending to boot.

I wondered if screaming at her would make her go away faster. Naw, she’d probably cry.

Why? Because she’s excited about a wedding and a bridesmaid dress (another color, pink) and a bachelorette party? Does this somehow mean that instead of getting pissed off when someone just starts yelling at her that she is honor bound to break into tears? I had no idea there was a direct correlation to ovaries and tear ducts. How shocking.

We also get to find out some more things Anita hates. The list for this chapter includes:

Bridesmaids’ dresses (although a lot of women would agree here)
I think I’m seeing why Anita works at night. She hates life. Okay, that’s a little harsh, but that’s the picture being painted.

Anita hangs up after promising to be the DD (which she also didn’t like doing, but she didn’t hate, so it didn’t make the list) and lays in bed wondering about the organizational skills of a woman she’s never met. Because when I’m tired, that’s what runs through my mind to lull me back to sleep.

Eventually she does fall back asleep. Yeah. Another chapter finished.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ranty Thursday

No, you didn't misread the title there. I'm about to go on the kind of rant that if I were a child would have gotten me a severe case of time out. Or a spanking. And yes, I was spanked, and no, I don't believe any harm came from it. I'm not a violent person, I don't take out my anger in violent ways, and I'm a fully functioning member of society.

No, when I get mad, I either talk it out or write it out. Guess which one I'm doing today.

First, I will preface everything I'm about to say/write by admitting freely that at one time I was a huge fan of Laurell K. Hamilton. This was probably about... five or six years ago, I can't really remember. It was right around the time Danse Macabre came out. I bought the first book on a whim, because I was looking for something new to read and I really, really liked it. I tore through the entire series up to the current book in maybe a week and a half. Keep in mind that I was still in school and working full time, so reading over a dozen books in less than two weeks with a full course load and 35 hours or so at work is an accomplishment. I really did enjoy the books, even when they shifted in to more sex/less story and kept shifting that way.

I will also admit that LKH is one of the reasons I started writing again. Not the only one and not even the best one, but she was one of them. Everything I'd written before was kind of fluffy and chick litty and just entirely too cute. I still say I'm proud of the book I finished just because it was the first book I wrote all the way through, outside of crap in middle and high school. Guilty Pleasures led me to other urban fantasy/paranormal romance books and for that I'll be grateful.

But gratitude only goes so far. And it has hit the motherfucking wall.

(Warning: If you don't like foul language, you're going to want to stop reading right now. I mean it. This is a non-censored blog and I'm not holding back)

For those of you who either didn't know or don't give two shits, LKH released an outtake, for lack of a better term, of her upcoming book, Kiss the Dead. The outtake, Beauty, is just that. It's a scene that was cut from the final draft of KtD. The publisher tacked on a chapter or two of the upcoming book and that's it. That's all. It's not a story. It's an outtake.

Do I care? Nope. I did the same thing to intro both the Jude Magdalyn series and the Frankie Post series. Difference being that I included the first third of each book with the flash fiction piece, I stated it was flash fiction with a sample, and (since I'm with an indie press) the prices were cheaper. I understand the price isn't in LKH's control, but the easy way around this, as pointed out by numerous other people, is to just offer it on the website. But let's not digress here.

I care because once again, LKH has decided that if you don't like her work, you are the following things:

the involuntarily celibate
wannabe writers
(full of)sexual frustration

I'm not making any of this shit up. These are her own words (except for the stuff in parentheses--those be mine), for all the world to see on Twitter. Yes, Twitter, one of those social networking sites that now has material in the Library of Congress. If this was expressed in a personal e-mail that somehow got hacked, I wouldn't be as annoyed, because writers are allowed to vent.


Even more important, you don't make broad, sweeping statements designed to alienate people who may have been on the fence about continuing to buy your works. Let's dissect those wonderfully complex analyses of people you don't know from a goddamn hole in the wall.

Jealous--this implies that I want what you have, which I'm going to assume is either your sex life or your writing career. NEWFLASH: I DON'T WANT EITHER. I have my own writing career, and while it's still in the growing stages, at least it's growing. My fanbase may be small, but it's solid and full of wonderful people. Thanks to social media, I've been able to connect with amazing individuals and build relationships that I hope last a long time. And I've seen your husband. I really don't want him. Which leads to the next point.

Involuntarily celibate--here's a concept that may not have crossed your mind: voluntarily celibate. Yep, I'm putting it out there for the world to know. The only person I'm having sex with at the moment is myself. There are a multitude of reasons for that, chief among them being I don't have the time for a relationship. Could I pick up a guy in a bar and get my pipes cleaned? Hell, yes. I'm no supermodel, but there are nights when picking up a guy at a bar is like shooting fish in a barrel. I don't do that for two big reasons: I don't want diseases and I have standards. Since I don't have time for a relationship and I don't want to pick up guys in bars, I'm choosing to not have sex with other people right now. That would me (let's say it together) voluntarily celibate.

(05/12 ETA: It's come to my attention that the above statements about diseases and standards could be construed as "slut shaming". Please know this was NOT my intent at all and I apologize for having given the impression that individuals [men or women] who have one night stands are morally bankrupt.

This was really more a jab at myself--statistically speaking, people who engage in sex, even safe sex, with a higher number of partners are more at risk for STI's than people who are monogamous. Knowing my luck, which is seldom good on the dating front, I'd wind up with something even if I used protection. Really, my luck is that bad. As to  the statement about standards, I think most people can agree that beer/liquor goggles are at least somewhat real. I don't know how they work for everyone else, but I know when mine are in full effect, I'm likely to make decisions that will have me cringing in the cold, hard light of day. Instead of beating myself up because I didn't live up to my own standards, I do my best to stay away from bad decision making situations.

I feel as long as your emotional and physical needs are being met in a safe, healthy, consensual manner, more power to you. What works for one person isn't going to work for another--and there's nothing wrong with that. It'd be boring if we all did the exact same thing. And nobody would win at Never Have I Ever. Again, my apologies for any misunderstanding about the previous point. Back to the regularly scheduled program)

Sexual frustration--I'm not sexually frustrated, because I can have sex with myself. And I do, quite often. I like to joke that I own stock in Duracell. There is nothing wrong with masturbation. NOTHING. I would go so far as to tell anyone who hasn't had sex to spend some quality time on themselves first, so they have a better idea of what does and doesn't work for them. I'm always surprised to hear my female friends so they don't masturbate. I feel like you're missing out on numerous opportunities for exploration there.

In addition to being able to have sex with myself, I can write about sex. Shocking, right? Before I started writing books, I wrote erotica for an online site. And since I'm so pissy, I'm going to link to that site. Right here:

Literotica was the first writing of a sexual nature that I did. I'd perused the site before, because just like I believe in masturbation I believe in using whatever aids you need (within legal limits) to get you across the finish line. When I wanted to test my hand at writing again, I posted on Literotica. So no, I'm not sexually frustrated.
Finally: wannabe writers.

Hold on. I need a second. Because my brain just fucking exploded with anger.

It took me forever to find the exact quote and I apologize yesterday for being unable to tell a R from a W, but here it is:

"Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer." -- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Let's take a second and compare here, sparky. Should I believe the words of one of the most influential poets of the early 19th century or someone who has to look to her fans via social media to help remind her what color someone's eyes are in a book? Yeah, I thought the same damn thing.

I AM A WRITER. Period. Point blank. I don't need your antiquated, narrow-minded viewpoint of what constitutes a "writer" to validate my existence and my career choice. I'm a writer because I live and breathe writing, because it's something in my blood and on my mind and in my heart and soul. Some people are born to sing, others born to perform, still others to serve and protect. I was born to write. It's what I am. Just because I haven't reached the NYT doesn't mean I'm not a writer.

Having dissected all her juvenile, "stop being mean to me" statements, I'm going to say why I haven't liked her most recent books. Wait for it. It's going to be shocking.


Really. It's that simple. I didn't like them. I felt like LKH stopped writing for fans and started writing solely for herself. When she killed off Haven in Bullet, I nearly threw the fucking book across the room. Because it was stupid. She has one character who doesn't completely fall under the spell of Anita's magical vagina and she kills him off. Jesus Christ, really? REALLY? You don't see that as maybe an opportunity for growth or some shit? No, it's a reason to kill them off.

When I kill someone off, it's because they had to die. Their death is going to drive the story or series arc forward. It's not because I'm not fond of them. That's professional. Not personal.

Long story short, LKH just declared war on a shitton of people. Think I'm joking? Both Jennifer Armintrout and Naomi Clark have already voiced their opinions loud and clear, Naomi going so far as to address LKH directly. I haven't seen a response yet, probably because the woman can't think of an intelligent one.

I'm not going to make this a priority in my life. I have things to do like, you know, WRITE. As long as LKH can keep the total stupidity of her thoughts to herself, I'm going to be content with this rant.

But if she doesn't... well. I went to public school. I know how to fight, bitch.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recap Wednesday--Guilty Pleasures, Ch. 1

It's hard to know where to start with Guilty Pleasures. I'm inclined to be lenient, because I know how the rest of the books turn out. When I look at it from that viewpoint, the first chapter of GP isn't all that bad.

And then I remember LKH's attitude toward readers--"If you don't love me, you suck"--and all lenincy goes out the window. With that in mind, may God have mercy on our souls.

The first two paragraphs establish only three things, despite having 14 sentences between the two .
1) Willie McCoy is dead (5 sentences)
2) Willie McCoy is slime (4 sentences)
3) Willie McCoy has horrible fashion sense (5 sentences)

As a matter of fact, all five of those sentences about Willie's fashion sense are in the first paragraph. Call me picky, but when you spend more time establishing someone who is obviously not the main character, we're off to an...interesting start.

Okay, one of the things I'm going to keep a running tab on is the number of specific colors mentioned. You're going to think this is crazy, but I've got a feeling about this. On the first page alone, we've got four:

primary Crayola green
powder blue

We may end up turning this into a drinking game. We'll see. I don't want to damage anyone's liver, especially my own.

The other thing we're going to keep count of: the number of times our still unnamed narrator talks about avoiding eyes. Because as everyone knows, that's the most dangerous part about being around a vampire. Meeting their eyes. Me, I'd be more worried about, you know, the dangerous fangs or the inhuman strength. But hey, to each their own.

(Side note: as I'm writing this, somebody just drove a horse trailer through my apartment building parking lot. With a horse in it. The temptation to find out what the hell is going on is almost overwhelming.)

Moving on: there's a lot of beating around the bush. Seriously. I'm all for suspense, but I still don't know who the main character is, I don't know why the hell Willie is there, I know nothing. This is irritating from a reader's viewpoint. Quite frankly, if I were the narrator, I'd be asking a helluva lot more, "Why the fuck are you here?" and less internal "I'm scared. Oops, I'm scared again. Crap, still scared."

But I'm bitchy and not ashamed of that fact in the least.

Ooh, we got a first name. Her--I'm assuming--first name is Anita. I'm making that assumption because I'm not seeing this like Johnny Cash's "Boy Named Sue". Based on the constant repitition LKH has shown so far, I'm guessing she's not one for little jokes.

The rest of the chapter is much of the same. "Why won't you help?" "Oh, I'm afraid." Willie McCoy, Willie McCoy, Willie McCoy. Seriously, Anita says his name so many times, it's imprinted in my brain. And from what I'm gathering, this is just a minor character. God help us when we get the major ones.

By chapter's end, we manage to find out Willie is nothing but a front for some bigger guns. Guns who will not be happy to be told no, because all Anita says is, "I don't work for vampires." There's no stated reason why. Just no. Considering the fact that she talks about raising the dead with a sort of shocking casualness, I like to think of this as splitting hairs.

We also get three new colors--gold, silver, and "almost colorless". I'm counting it as a color. I'm not counting the repeat of black and gold, just because.

One of the WTF moments, at least for me, came with this sentence.

I gave him my best professional smile, empty of meaning as a light bulb, but dazzling.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a light bulb actually have meaning? It's not just there for shits and giggles. It's there to give off light. That's a meaning, yes? And I want to know what wattage she's using to get dazzling light. It must be pretty damn high. Just saying.

Final color count: 7
Times Anita avoids eye contact: 3.5
Times Anita has some sort of fear-induced physical reaction: 7 definites

All this in only 6 pages. If I were here, I'd find a new line of work. Just saying.

That's all for this week. Depending on my mood and schedule, I may do another chapter on Saturday or so. Prepare for randomness tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Buildup--Title Craziness

I'm sure some of you have wondered where the titles of my various books come from. I'm hoping so, anyway, otherwise this post is going to be full on uselessness. Since I'm writing Jude right now, I'll stick with a brief discussion of her books.

From the get-go, I knew the first title was Shades of Gray. None of that had to do with any sort of physical characteristic. It was all about the moral gray area the characters inhabit. There's a lot of shysty behavior on various fronts in SoG. There's lying, killing, more lying, etc., all in the name of protecting innocent people from evil. Jude asks the question more than once about where the line is. In the end, it's a line she has to figure out for herself, one that we all do, because not everyone can live with the same smudges on their ledger.

The second book, Shades of Desire, was a little trickier. I wanted to continue the play on words, but wasn't sure how. In the end, one of the themes prevelent in the book was the theme of want. Not necessarily sexual want, but just want in general. Sure, there are some romantic situations in the book, but for the most part SoD is about the wants and needs of individuals and what they're willing to do to achieve them.

The current book, Shades of Blood, holds true to the play on words theme. Yes, there's a lot more violent behavior in this book, even if it occurs off-page, but the word "blood" isn't about just the nasty red stuff. Blood is also family, and one of the predominant things in the Jude Magdalyn series is the intertwining tendrils of family. Love them or hate them, you have to deal with them. SoB (and I LOVE that acronym) resolves some issues even while setting the ground for future conflict.

So there you have it. Title craziness but not really.

Starting tomorrow, I'll be recapping LKH's Guilty Pleasures. I haven't read the book in a while, so this should prove interesting. Or wall banging. I'm not sure which.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Special Saturday Edition: Thinking 'Bout A Change

Some of you may or may not be familiar with the time-honored tradition (yeah, right--it's so new the paint's barely dry) of snarking a book chapter by chapter. Overall, I find it time-consuming and usually not worth my time.

Until I found Jennifer Armintrout's blog.

This brave, brave, incrediably brave soul (did I mention she's brave?) is snarking/recapping 50 Shades of Gray. Not mine, but the title made infamous by E.L. James. Side note: can I tell you all how pissed I am about the title? Seriously--if I mention it now, I'm lumped in with "mommy porn". Then I have to explain, no, it's actually about magic and vampires, and then I have to deal with the damn Twilight questions. Anyway, enough of my anguish. I already loved Armintrout for her blog where she laid the smackdown on LKH. When I searched her blog, I also found her shout out to fellow writer and blog follower Naomi Clark and my respect increased a hundred fold.

Her recaps just solidified the adoration. They are... hilariously brutal, with equal emphasis on both words. I actually laughed and snickered out loud, which let me tell you, looks really strange when you're sitting in public reading your phone. People look at you a little sideways and scoot their chairs over a few inches.

So, both in honor of the heroic Armintrout and because I feel like the blog could use a little change-up, I'm thinking about turning Wednesdays into Recap Wednesday. The question, of course, is which book/series to recap/snark. I'd prefer to stick with something I already own, since I've alreayd read them and so it really becomes more about taking notes and looking for obvious WTF moments I wouldn't have noticed the first time. Because I'm one of those people who get so absorbed in a story that I gloss over some things that later will hit me in the head. It's rare that something jolts me completely out of a story. But I digress--as usual.

So, the choices for the first book for Recap Wednesday are:

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
One For the Money by Janet Evanovitch
Twilight by Stephanie Meyers
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

I'll give everyone a week or so to make their decision, either here or on Facebook, where I'll be putting up a poll.

Please--don't make me read Twilight again. I've read too much snark about it to go in with a clear head. It may hurt me to try.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Random Thursday!

The countdown is still on! I'm just waiting for my editor to finish up and then Harvest Moon Rising will be yours. This would be the moment for an evil laugh. I'll wait while you take care of that.

Ok. Moving on.

I'll be spending the day doing uploads for the print version of Shades of Desire, banging out a few thousand on Shades of Blood, and then whiling away the afternoon with my niece and nephews. They're only in town for another day or so and then they're driving back to Texas. Well, they're not driving, my sister is, but either way, they're leaving for a bit. Then they come back next week and then they move to Kansas. I told them they need to rename their dog ToTo but nobody listens to me.

My evening will probably be more writing, since I don't have to speed through my reread of The Passage. Why, you may ask? Because I just found out the release date for the next book in the series, The Twelve, (and I don't know why my computer isn't letting me bold that--annoyance) has been pushed back to October. Am I annoyed? Hell, yes. This seriously marred my enjoyment of the latest Nora Roberts and Charlaine Harris releases.

Thank God Blackout is still due to come out on the 22. I really would have thrown a fit then. Sidenote--if anyone can get their hands on an ARC of the book, I would love them forever. Seriously. Forever.

At the moment, I can't think of anything else random. Tomorrow, I'm going to do a little bit on grilling, since I think I"ll be doing some actual grilling tomorrow. It seems like the appropriate season, yes? Catch ya'll on the flip side!