Monday, March 31, 2008

I Gets a Book Club!

With the Barnes and Noble Book Club coming to an unceremonious close, my buddy Stacia is throwing me a snarky ass blow out over at the League of Reluctant Adults. Swing by and we'll talk about Happy Hour, maybe Road Trip and apparently designer fashion and eating disorders (though, frankly, I know more about the latter).

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cat Scratch Fever

It seems I got off my ass and posted a weekend interview with one Ms. Rachel Vincent (Stray, Rogue). Inside, you'll find drunkenness, t.s. elliot, and blatant book whoring. Please to direct your attention here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Reading Books is--SURPRISE--Entertaining

It's 9:30 and I've been up since 7:00 watching a retro 60s production of Mozart's comedic opera Cosi Fan Tutte by some Berlin company. It's really quite interesting. Oh...Jesus. Who am I kidding? I'm too lazy to turn the channel. I can see the remote sticking out between the cushions on that chair over there, but it's just a few feet too far away. You know?

Frankly I'm surprised I'm not just exhausted but hung over after last night's reading/signing after-party. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning.

Caroline and I met up with Caitlin Kittredge to carpool up to the University Bookstore. We promptly began pumping each other up with claims of superstardom and threats of diva-like behavior. I ended up taking my book to dinner, because I really had no idea what to read, ultimately, I ended up falling back on my Chapter 3 standby. Gang bangs, butt plugs and F-bombing on par with the London blitz = perfect reading fodder. As a special shout out to my best friend Kevin, I also chose to read Gil's British date rape scene. That decided, we were off to the University Bookstore.

Holy crap! There were a lot of people there.

That's about half of them. There were actually people sitting on the floor and some people standing on the sides. We counted between 35 and 40, depending on who you ask. The reading went well. I was told later that I actually got a gasp from someone not expecting my zombie heroine to bite a bitch. A furreal live gasp. I couldn't be happier.

Caitlin read in a British accent, even. Which was fun and gruesome (the story, not the accent). Then we took questions and gave out glow in the dark zombie finger puppets. Good times all around.

Let's see who was there.

Dianna Rodgers and Devon Monk came up from the land of Oregonia just to see me...and make a pilgrimage to John Fleuvog. But guess what Dianna made?

Aw hells yeah. That's a big brain jello shooter (I can still smell the alcohol). That last picture is my fifth spoonful, so I was well on my way to lit. I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased to be consuming brains at the reading. We shared with the audience, of course, some of whom weren't aware they were doing vodka shots. The stunned faces were priceless.

The signing was awesome, I sold out my stock, which seemed like at least 25 copies, Caitlin signed at least that many, if not more. It was great. But wait...what's this?

A gore spattered crime scene Happy Hour of the Damned? I quivered in ecstacy. C.S. Inman (that's him in the green) was the perpetrator of this, my favorite atrocity .

Here's some more peeps, including my friends who thought they'd escape my rampant bloggery.

They were wrong. The tall guy in that first pic is Duane the magic man behind this whole shindig. If you don't know Duane, you don't know scifi/fantasy.

That's all. Must go recover.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't Mind Me...

So, I'm sitting here plotting out and outlining Book 3 and realizing that I'm the last of Team Seattle to weigh in on the Portland road trip...and it was my reading/signing, even. They've already posted pictures, told their little stories, replied to comments. What else is there to say, right?


Well a bit more, as it turns out. Get this...

On Monday, I rented the van from Chad at Enterprise, who seemed genuinely impressed that I was going to Powell's for my signing, though not so impressed that he didn't turn his nose up at my Mastercard debit card. Apparently, you have to have a "real" credit card to plop a deposit down or you get no Grand Caravan, or a regular Caravan, for that matter. To his credit he got a waiver from his manager (or the dial tone, either one)--I had my suspicions. But as he walked me out, he got me to sign-off on Enterprise insurance. Normally, I would never pay extra, but I'd been waiting for nearly and hour. I'm pretty sure it's part of the sales plan to wear you down with smiles and boredom and then go in for the insurance kill. I could be wrong. Chad are you out there?

Anyway, Tuesday I drive our tired asses (still exhausted from Norwescon) down to Oregonia. Past the new waterpark hotel--which looks frighteningly like a modern meat packing plant--the religious statuary park of unknown origin and scads of billboards proclaiming that heathens such as our selves were bound to find ourselves roasting over a pit while Hell's minions pissed on our charred flesh (I'm paraphrasing).

The hotel was nice and the price right (Richelle is a master travel agent sure to open a side business soon--heads up). We freshened up the naughty bits and took off for the downtown Powell's aka The City of Books, in case anyone was wondering what the title of yesterday's post meant.

For those who've never been there, may I suggest an economy car for the parking lot from Hell. It's a creaking maze of posts that is much better suited to accomodating motorcycles than minivans. Powell's is Mecca for new authors (and not so new). We came to sign the post. THE POST. Here it is, please note the awe.

While we signed, I kept whispering to Caroline to keep snapping pictures. With the plexi-glass being hefted precariously over our heads the whole time, I was expecting a Final Destination-type moment and you guys would have been pissed if I didn't capture author-under-glass.

After that, it was time to hit Beaverton, or Cedar Hills Crossing and the new Powell's (which is really nice as were the staff peeps). Miles, who introduced us came prepared to riff and appropriately made fun of Mario, who responded by giving "possession face." As it was my first "official" reading, of course, I choose to read something absolutely filthy into a microphone, censoring myself only by whispering things like gangbang, buttplugs and motherfucker. What I didn't realize was that...

1. Whispering makes things more interesting (you'd think I'd have remembered this from psych 101).


2. It draws children out of the woodwork. Cuz who doesn't like secrets?

By now, I'm sure you've all seen the paparazzi image of a mother rushing her little girl away to the manager's office to discuss a potential lawsuit. If not, swing by katatomic for the proof.

After the reading, I took some questions and realized that a friend from high school was in the audience, which was cool, as well as this little lady... I know the fangirl in Jill Myles is damning me to hell, cuz that's Meljean Brook (Demon Bound, Demon Night) sitting with our Richelle. She came by to have her book signed and say hi, and she was super nice, so there you go. Got to meet an lj friend or two, as well (Hi Lea! Hi Tami!). In fact, Tami got me this picture of Mario and I signing...

(photo courtesy of Tami Hawes)

After Powell's it was time to ditch the mini-van and sample the various Portland intoxicants. Mario started a game of sick twisted titles that I couldn't resist jumping in on. Sick and twisted degenerating quickly into absolutely filthy. Which was, of course, magical, but I don't think I could repeat anything here without being arrested on indecency charges.

Aw shit, here's a little tidbit anyway...

Someone at the table pointed out that by creating a play on words we could elevate our filth to some pretty high brow humor. For instance, cockrings are funny but not as funny as a cockring of fire, which is the only kind the "man in black" would ever utilize. Do you see how I protect you with the tamest thing I can remember? I didn't even mention spinabifida once.


I can't think of anything else, right now. The ride back was somber because we were sans Mario, who'd flown back to Denver for another signing.

Speaking of signings!

Don't forget to come down to the University Bookstore in Seattle tonight, to catch Caitlin and I reading stuff out loud, possibly in accents. 7PM to whenever.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And Just When I Was Beginning to Recover

I'll be in Portland tonight (7 PM) for a Reading/Signing with Mario Acevedo (The Undead Kama Sutra) at Powell's Beaverton location. The whole Seattle author gang is going down with us. I've even rented a minivan to get that whole road trip experience.

Wish me luck.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Norwescon Afterburn

Clothes are tumbling in the dryer, leftover swag and suitcase entrails litter the kitchen table and my third cup of coffee is barely eating away at my extreme exhaustion.

Such is the day after Norwescon.

It was a genuinely great experience. Met tons of awesome folks, including quite a few lj-ers (Hey y'all!), cool new writer, artist and bookseller peeps, and new fans (well they'd all be "new" technically). However...I'm not comfortable blogging about rainbows and gumdrops so it's about to get ugly. Uglier than this even...

Please take note of the new grays (each one has its own unique and horrific name). Let's start with gray #1.

1. The Doctor White Gray

Last Saturday, we went grocery shopping with a friend who is apparently trying to kill me, therefore "friend" may be a misnomer. Said "friend" suggested hot Kashi cereal was a "delicious and healthy alternative" to oatmeal. While I'll agree that the texture was interesting, the flavors were stronger and a smaller portion seemed to fill me up, the after effects left a little something to be desired. Over the course of a week, the glands in my throat swelled, my breathing constricted and I was left flush an light-headed. By Thursday, I thought I was having a stroke. Yet, I still went to Norwescon because I had a panel (my first ever). It was about the best horror movies so I figured if I stroked out right there in the conference room at least I'd give the people a good show. The next morning, I went to the doctor panicked and full of self diagnoses. I may have mentioned the word thrombosis, but I can't be sure.

Needless to say Dr. White looked at me like I was a complete retard (which is debatable, even under normal circumstances) and diagnosed it as an allergic reaction. He prescribed steroids and benadryl, told me to lose "at least" 50 pounds (oh yes, in quotes) and sent me back to the con.

2. The Lisa Mantchev Gray

I finally met La Mantchev at the hotel coffee shop about an hour before our panel for writers who blog or vice versa. She was peppy and genuine and we like her (that's the royal we, this time, you can make up your own minds). She had in her hot little hands a shiny new copy of Shimmer, the new issue of Weird Tales with her story Six Scents inside and a packet of perfume samples that correspond to the story.

Needless to say, I was excited. Not since John Waters played the "odorama" card for Polyester had I been so needy. She even offered to let me have it and pay her later. But knowing how flighty I can be, I thought aaaaaah better get the money out of me first. Of course, after our panel I swung by the ATM and got me my monies. Then where was Ms. Lisa? Um...nowhere. Gone. I looked all over for her. I caught a glimpse of her across a crowded room once after that, but nope. As I was leaving yesterday, I ran into her in the lobby, she was sans Shimmer and I was, of course, sans money. Being a generous and trusting individual, she gave me a copy of Weird Tales and the perfumes in exchange for a promise to Match It for Pratchett.

Promise fulfilled Lisa, with bonus gray hair.

3. The Surprise You're a Moderator Gray

When I checked in to the convention I was under the impression that I'd be moderating one of the eight panels. Not so, as it turns out. One guy who was on a few of my panels bagged out of the con, leaving the panel moderator-less. Including the very first one. I've moderated therapy groups, though that was called facilitating--and a weird thing happened that wasn't at all helpful to the panel process. I kept dropping into therapist mode and had to shut myself down before I spoke. When there is a lull in the panel, it's often appropriate for the moderator to bring up a new question or direction and not, for instance, point out the lull and comment, "Is this silence uncomfortable for anyone? Does it remind you of home?"

I think I even said that once, though I can't be 100% positive.

On Saturday, I had three panels back to back and by the third one I was late and supremely loopy. Made a complete fool of myself, much to the delight of the audience and my co-panelists I'm sure. I don't remember a whole lot of it (I'm going to blame Doctor White for that), but I do remember talking about my mother a great deal, zombie obsessions, and recurring dreams. Thank God the swag distracted people.

4. The Dan Simmons Humility Lesson Gray

On Saturday afternoon, there was a signing event of which I was a participant. Norwescon guest of honor, Dan Simmons was signing at the same time, so please note the view of his line, unobstructed by anyone in front of my space. It was quite impressive. At one point it stretched across the entire space.

We did sign programs and books though and had a good time pretending that one day we'd be over there where Dan was sitting, people rolling up with suitcases of first editions for the signing. Hmmm. Who's we? Why these folks here...

And NO, I don't know who the guy is on the right. Anyone care to fill me in? The card says Kevin Radthorne, but I don't think we even introduced ourselves (though in our defence, Cherie Priest was responsible for introductions, or so I'd been led to believe). I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

5. The Caitlin Kittredge I'll Go Emo if You Don't Party Until One in the the Morning Gray

After the lunacy of my Saturday panels, I decided to bag out of the evening festivities, so I walked back to my hotel and pondered room service. You see, the night before Mario and I hit a couple of the parties, one of which was in a hotel room where the centerpiece was a big ass white bucket of toxic waste. The green sludge issued via ladle was both disgusting and oddly satisfying in a weird probably-shouldn't-mix-Everclear-and-antihistamines kind of way.

Anyway, a slew of text messages coaxed me back to the Weird Tales party where the Seattle Crew (yes we'll be doing a "Step" tour soon) hung out with the likes of--excuse me while I name drop--Gordon Van Gelder, totally interesting publisher of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jeremy (Fucking) Lassen, publisher of Nightshade Books, all around fun guy and snazzy dresser and John Picacio, artist and party muse. After we left the penthouse, we caught up with Pat Rothfuss, whom I'd never met and had to introduce myself (thanks Cherie) and jaywalked across the street from the con to THE PARTY AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Here's the rundown on that: 500 sweaty people packed in an area the size of a living room drinking cherry and banana Everclear slushies and watching wet t-shirt contests through saucer eyes. Not since high school, I tell you.

Speaking of Caitlin, we both had fairly well attended Easter readings, especially compared to the woman who read before us who had one guy. Eek. Thanks to everyone that turned up for that. Shout out to criada and kaerfel, and the two other ladies that I think were on livejournal, too but I didn't catch their screennames.

And finally...

6. The My Audience Always Knows More About the Topic than Me Gray

Because Happy Hour has so many horror elements, I got sort of typecast in my panel selections. Something that came up in nearly all the horror panels was a movie called The Signal, which seems to follow a similar construct as films like Romero's The Crazies and recently the J-horror of Kairo (Pulse). So you know I had to go find the trailer...

So that's it. Next up is Romantic Times and I have to tell you, I'm concerned.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Norwescon Checklist

Three and a half hours from now, I'll be making the drive to Norwescon, I've got a few stops to make (to pick up some glow-in-the-dark zombie finger puppets and more jelly beans). Then, I'll muster all my courage and begin the battle with the parking Gods.

Here's what I've got...

• Easter Basket with surprise eggs for my reading on Sunday
• Test tubes of edible "platelets"
• Box of promo postcards (my pens didn't come yet, doh!)
• Box of books for consignment
• Headful of NAUGHTY

What's left to do?

• Charge camera (oh yes, there will be photography)
• Charge phone (I'm certain to be "lost" half the time)
• Formulate actual opinions

Hope to see lots of lj peeps!

A schedule reminder

We Love Them, We Hate Them, But What Horror Films are the Best? Thursday 6:00 p.m. Evergreen 4
Phillip Brugalette (M), K.L. Young, Mark Henry, Lorelei Shannon

Writers and Blogging Friday 2:00 p.m. Cascade 4
Mark Henry (M), Lisa Mantchev, Cindy Turner

Die Laughing Horror's Not Funny! Or is it? Friday 4:00 p.m. Cascade 6
Michael Ehart (M), Mark Henry, Richelle Mead

The Elements of Fear: What Makes Horror Effective Saturday 10:00 a.m. Cascade 6
Philip Brugalette (M), Mark Henry, Christopher Konker

Autograph Session 2 Saturday Noon Evergreen 1 & 2

What Makes The Horny Little Devil So Red Hot? Saturday 3:00 p.m. Cascade 10 18+
Mark Henry, Richelle Mead, J.C. Hendee, Barb Hendee

The Worst Way to Die - Horror Films Have the Answers Saturday 6:00 p.m. Cascade 8
Julie Hoverson (M), Mark Henry, Phillip Brugalette

Crossing Gender Lines Saturday 7:00 p.m. Cascade 6
Michael Ehart (M), Mark Henry, Gordon Van Gelder

It Takes a Village to Raise a Zombie Saturday 8:00 p.m. Cascade 13
Mimi Noyes (M), Mark Henry, Robert Grey, Cat Rambo

Reading: Mark Henry Sunday 2:00 p.m. Cascade 3

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book Review: The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

I think I'm in love with Lisa Lutz. Of course, you wouldn't know it from how I treated her debut novel, The Spellman Files; it sat on my nightstand for several weeks after its release last year, finally making its way to the land that reading forgot--aka my dusty mule of a bookcase. I initially bought the book for its awesome cover, which reminded me of Galt Niederhoffer's A Taxonomy of Barnacles (also banished to the "land" soon after its release--moment of silence). I knew it was a humorous take on the mystery genre, sort of a Running with Scissors meets CSI only cozier, what I didn't know was; it was lying wait to charm my pants off (not literally, I am, as a rule, pro-pants, or at the very least, shorts). It was by pure chance that my book club chose the Spellman's for our February ritual. And by "chance," I mean the person who selected the book (not me) was heavily influenced by another person (me).

Here's a bit of a blurb, any more is saying too much...

Izzy Spellman is searching for a missing person from a decades-old cold case, a future ex-boyfriend and a life away from her crazy family, all of whom are detectives, even her manipulative little sister Rae. Secrets and lies abound as this dysfunctional pack of gumshoes wage a surveillance war that is both hilarious and telling.

Lutz's style is frenetic and wacky and footnoted (so you know I was hooked from the get-go). She's woven a story that in a less-talented writer's hands could have come off as maudlin and sappy into a truly comic tale that speaks to the effects of lost childhood and the cycles of alcoholism, without any of the pesky tear-soaked melodrama. Did I mention I was laughing out loud? Not chuckling, mind you but big guttural guffaws. Seriously.

Well done Ms. Lutz. I'll be watching you, but not in a stalkery way. I'm too lazy to get out of the car to bust a taillight.

The sequel, Curse of the Spellmans, is in stores now!

Reason #365

This is yet another reason why I love my wife.

Upon walking into the living room the other morning, spotting the former Governor of New York's high-priced call girl, who, reportedly, doesn't spread her legs for less than $5000 an hour (4 hour minimum), Caroline could be heard to say...

"That's magic pussy. For $5000, it better have spinning shammie action."

That's pre-coffee.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Zombie Redux

I posted this yesterday over at Fangs Fur and Fey, but it was Sunday and I don't think that's a high traffic day, so I'm doing the cross post thing...but I couldn't just post the same old thing, so I added some stuff. You'll see...

It's probably a good thing that the topic of the week is "why we pick the specific creatures we do"--which I'm barely making the cut off for, shameful and pathetic as that may be--because in less than a week, I'm going to be sitting on a con panel about zombies in popular culture, pretending to be all smart and stuff. Now despite the general consensus (not here, I'm not sure who's consensing, or if that's even a word), it doesn't require an academic mind to write a book. Research is undoubtedly done for urban fantasy novels, but I guarantee you very little has been done by me.

Or has it?

Certainly not in the since of cracking open a book on origins or the paleobotany of the Haitian voodou coup de poudre. Nope. Everything you need to learn about zombies can be found on celluloid, thank God. I'll reference carrieryan's post as an example of how zombie authors get hooked on the flesh-eating genre. Of course, I think my long-standing obsession that spans 30 years of film and literature--don't laugh, many would argue Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD is a just a high brow zombie book--counts as research, so there.

It started in 1978 (a really important year for zombies, but we'll get back to that).

We moved around quite a bit, as my father worked for the feds, and I was always concerned about the timing. If we moved in the winter, would it be enough time to make friends before my birthday in June? Late summer was the best. A full school year to turn chameleon and ingratiate into whatever social group was least adverse to a prematurely caustic sense of humor and an overactive imagination.

My mother, whose fondness of horror movies knew no boundaries or political correctness (thank God), checked out a projector and two cannisters of film from the library (actual freaking film, how old am I?). Inside was that quintessential zombie classic, Night of the Living Dead. We showed it to a living room packed with children in flared jeans on a wall stripped of its 70s art in shades of Avocado Green and Harvest Gold to match the appliances and shag carpet. The blood was black and the screams weren't just coming from the tinny projector speaker.

My 10th birthday was a success, I'd seen my first flesh-eating zombie. Here he is now...

Not particularly frightening, but drape some intestines over his lapels and you've got what I like to call the perfectly accessorized ghoul. Dressed to the nines or not-at-all (seventies zombies weren't at all modest) I was done in; those zombies had me like nobody's business. What was it about these bleak characters? They were obviously metaphors, I knew that back then. But for what? I started hunting down everything I could on my new favorite monster and there wasn't a whole lot back then.

White Zombie (1932) didn't cut the mustard, so I was forced to expand my vision. George Romero's 1973 film The Crazies is probably the earliest precursor to the "fast zombies" we see nowadays (28 Days/Weeks/Months Later). A plague spreads through the population, rendering nearly everyone murderously insane. These folks aren't shambling around in their illness, they're out to get you. I don't recommend it; it's virtually unwatchable but it has a lot to say about vulnerability and government apathy. I only mention it because I know that Romero has come out swinging against the "fast zombies" and yet he really is to blame. In fact, he's remaking The Crazies as I write this. Hello? Bandwagon much? In fact, look what I found...

In 1976, David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises, History of Violence) released his first feature film, Shivers. While there were sexual overtones and a very specific parasitic element to the storyline, it is essentially a zombie movie. The parasites turn the residents of a hip trendy condo building into shambling sex ghouls. Now, don't all race to your Netflix at once, Shivers is Cronenberg, after all, and he's a master of the disturbing, so keep that in mind, while you watch this...

Back to 1978.

I'm a 10-year old zombie fiend and my world is about to change. Dawn of the Dead comes out. I actually talked my father into taking me to this one, something amused me about his disgust and he was the kind of smoker that needed to leave the theater several times to feed the habit (still is), nowadays, I probably would have been rushed to a foster home for a healthy dose of systematic sexual abuse, but back then, well...things were simpler. So I sat in that theater alone, horrified and fascinated as the dead returned to the mall and it dawned on me (get it "Dawn-ed?) that zombies were the perfect metaphor for just about any hot button social issue.

Night of the Living Dead? Racism, isolation, vulnerability to a personal attack (it was the Cold War, after all, and people were conscious of the possibility of Russia launching a strike at any second, or at least that's how it felt).
Shivers? Promiscuity, rampant drug use and the vulnerability to a personal attack.
Dawn of the Dead? Crass consumerism and the vulnerability to a personal attack.

Looking back on it, there's no wonder there's a resurgence in the genre. It seemed to pick up right after 9/11, as soon as we were reminded that we were vulnerable.

I should probably wrap this up by getting back to the initial question, why did I choose zombies? The short answer is 1978 happened and I figured out the concept of metaphor. But the real reason is, I'm still fascinated.

Still. Thirty years later. That's gotta be reason enough.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Hour of the Damned Casting!

I wish. No no. A while back someone asked who I'd like to see play Amanda, Wendy and Gil, if the Showtime thing ever gets off the ground. I gave some flippant response, but kept thinking about it. This weekend my wife and I settled on Selma Blair as Amanda. She's snippy, has quite a bit of edge and I'm certain she'd get the satirical aspects. Wendy was tougher, but today I thought about that movie Thirteen and how Evan Rachel Wood is this dark bundle of gloom inside this pretty blonde shell, right? Totally Wendy.

So...I went in search of pictures for this blog post and what do I find? Only this...

Now, I have no idea who the girl on the left is, but with that expresseion, she could be Karkaroff. What say you?

Oh...and I still haven't figured out a Gil or Ricardo. Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Some Things

The League hosts a guest blogger today, Ms. Jaye Wells (not to be confused with the Ms. Jaye from America's Next Top Model) stops by to give us her first sale story. Check it out, I'll bet you know her. Really.

I'm guest blogging about the paranormal in real life over at Graffiti: West Virginia's News Alternative. I'm kinda proud of it. It's like being in The Stranger, here in Seattle, I'm guessing. Though there are no personal ads featuring low-hanging balls or sexy senior trannies searching for discipline or daddies (how's that for alliteration), so it might just be respectable. Joking. I'd totally write a column next to the dirty personals. Our own A.J. Menden has a review of Happy Hour in the same issue. Thanks Amy!

Monday, March 10, 2008

So...I've Been Told

...that 5 things make up a blog post. I'm more than happy to post about a single item, but if this is the consensus then I'll comply.

1. And this is an important one. A warning for the coffee curious. Starbucks' new Honey Latte smells like unwiped asshole. I'm not joking. I have nothing against honey or coffee but put the two together and you've got a pair nearly as frightening as Skin & Bones (that's the new nickname for the Flockhart/Ford travesty, as coined here.) It's not that it tastes like hot butt (nor do I have any clue what that flavor might be), it's just the ass fume rising off it that turns my stomach. You've been told.

2. Saturday was my book release party and it seems I'm obligated to throw down in the debut cake battle, though I assure you I'm not the winner (that'd be Caitlin--ganache trumps all). So here it is, after all that bullshit I went through with Tasha Nichole, including a $15 up charge making the cake $70 total, here's what I got...

Seriously. It's like she took the cake down to Safeway, gave it to the ambivalent teen with an afterschool job forced on them by by parents they can't stand and said, " know, do whatever."

What's worse? It's red velvet--I love red velvet. But that wheel of chocolatey goodness is supposed to come paired with cream cheese frosting. It's standard. This one tasted like butter cream. Dissappointed all the way around. I must offer up my sincerest apologies to Corina Bakery in Tacoma, who should have gotten our business. Their red velvet is the awesomeness, as we found out when we bought one for my wife's birthday party last year. I think my memory is going. Which isn't helped by...

3. Zombies aren't just flesh-eating idiots, but super dangerous cocktails that if consumed prior to your party will render you near incapacitated and with a blurry memory. Sound good? Then here's the recipe I used...

In pitcher add...
1 cup light rum
1/2 cup spiced rum
1/2 cup pineapple rum
1/2 cup apricot brandy
1 1/2 cup sweet and sour mix
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice (or 4 cups Dole Orange/Pineapple, duh)
Grenadine 'til it's dark pink
The juice of 1 lime

Stir with a couple of handfuls of ice and serve in a big ass party cup of ice with a float of Bacardi 151 rum (that last bit is not optional). I like a bendy straw, too. Some people like a cherry. Who doesn't?

4. Completely unrelated, unless you count the fact that our party music was taken from the setlists in Happy Hour of the Damned, is this video from The Raveonette's. Jeri Smith Ready, or Goody Jeri depending on your internet memory, blogged about this My Bloody Valentine/Jesus & Mary Chain throwback. Since then, I've been enamored and they've made their way into Road Trip. Here's Dead Sounds...

5. Finally, because I'm forced to do 5. This video makes me want to vlog. I hope it makes you laugh. If not...I'll send you a pitcher of #3 to help.

Aaaaahhhhh! David! We very nearly were able to come full circle, but hot piss isn't quite dirty asshole, still it's all very scatological as my friend Di Francis might say.

P.S. I almost made the 5 thing, but I guess this is technically 6. Jim Hines blogged over at the League and I'm not sure whether that was announced over here at livejournal. Jig's campaining like a m-effer so check it, and buy Goblin War, because if you don't and humorous fantasy becomes unpopular and therefore extinct, you'll have no one to blame but yourselves. No one!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More Opportunities to Spend Hard Earned Cashy

My homegirl, Caitlin Kittredge is up for pimpery today. So, if you're lookin' for a date, I'm runnin' a special...

Check out her debut release, Night Life (on sale now). Here's some blurbs, some of which, might be complete fabrications, but are nonetheless accurate and I carry no responsibility for fictitious characters comments, got it?

"I haven't been so enamored a shapeshifting heroine since Dee Wallace Stone turned into a were-maltese in THE HOWLING."
--Amanda Feral, Celebrity Ghoul, Arbiter of Style and Social Commentary

“Don’t go to bed with this book—it will keep you up all night. It’s that good.”
--Lilith Saintcrow, national bestselling author of WORKING FOR THE DEVIL

"Night Life will take you around the world, baby. You wanna go around the world, right? How 'bout a half and half?"
--Skinny Yvonne, Pleasure Specialist, creator of the "Tilt-a-Whirl" technique

So there you have it. Would Amanda, Lilith or Skinny Yvonne lead you down the wrong path? Not this week.


Caitlin is guest blogging over at the League of Reluctant Adults, and this time, she's brought the cocktails. So get your asses over there, you sorry barflies!

One last thing about Night Life, and it really is peripheral. Luna, Kittredge's main character is half werewolf and half blood witch. The first time I read that, I read "blood bitch" and I was all "no she di-int." And then, of course, no she didn't. Does anyone remember that Cocteau Twins song?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Humiliation X3, But, Sadly, No Brain Cake

I've been collecting interesting anecdotes from my first week as a published author, mostly good stuff, but there have been weird, shall I say sinister, turns. Take for instance...

Last Wednesday, being the diligent sales tool, I am, I embarked on a journey of book store drive-bys. For those not in the know, this is where an author hops in his filthy compact car and sputters up and down the freeway, searching for book stores that aren't ambivalent to us debutantes, where he (me) might sign whatever copies they have on hand. It might be an awesome experience, like the one Synde and her friends at the downtown Seattle Barnes and Noble bestowed on me (I'll let the camera speak for me on this one, except to say that she even gave me a cushy brain stress ball) or it could be... less than awesome, like when an independent bookseller looked at me like I was fucking nuts. Lets shoot for a reinactment...

"What's that?" She glances over her horn-rims at the glossy Happy Hour post card I'm passing to her.
"Oh just a post card with information about my book, in case you'd like to carry it in your store." I slip the card between her hesitant fingers, where it's turned a few times and handed back.
"I don't think so." She pauses, looks me dead in the eye. "We only carry bestsellers."

I swear to God. I couldn't make up that bit of horror. Thank God for the brain stress ball.

At the Northgate Mall B&N (which is like the most beautiful, modern bookstore in existence), I walked up to the info booth to ask for assistance--like you're supposed to--and they were awesome, and super nice. So much so, that while I'm signing stock, I hear this over the loudspeaker, mind you I'm in desert storm print cargo shorts and an old hoodie, at least two days of scruff covering my jowls.

"Ladies and Gentleman, if you'll please direct your attention to the center of the store, we have debut novelist, Mark Henry, signing his book Happy Hour of the Deaf. He'll be there for a while so swing by and chat with a real live author."

Did you catch the key word? Oh...yeah. Stop giggling. Deaf. The manager, who was walking back from the music area and presumably the source of the booming voice, looked at the title, spun and raced back the way she came. I'd finished signing by this point and was putting the little signed stickers on each of the books, when the voice boomed again.

"Damned! Happy Hour of the the name of the book and Mr. Henry will be with us for awhile to chat and sign copies," he finished as I set the stack back in place on the front table. I couldn't help but chuckle when he yelled "Damned," though cuz, c'mon. Since, no one even flinched through the announcement--there was a distinct feeling of indifference among the customers--I thanked the manager and high-tailed it out of there.

In Bellevue, the nice info desk girl couldn't find my book anywhere. The computer insisted, "In stock." But alas, nothing...nada (are you tiring of my ellipses?). So, I thought to myself, where is the worst possible spot for this to be shelved? It didn't take long to come up with an answer.


Sure enough, it was sitting in the new release Romance shelves faced out and missing a good 4 copies. I can just hear those mortified returns--I don't need to remind anyone that this isn't romance, right? In fact, Library Journal has dubbed it "splatter fiction" and "not for the squeamish." Two comments I, myself, love, but a romance reader might be looking for something else.

Say...romance, perhaps. Love, I'm thinkin'. Probably not dry humping, encopretic, and perpetually soused cannibal zombies.

Anyway. All this leads me to this afternoon.

We're having a book release party at my house, because this isn't the city, the house will have to do, plus there'll be plenty of shadowy corners for people to vomit and/or make out. It's--duh--zombie themed, so today, I picked up Caroline from work and we went to order the cake. Can I just say...

WTF? The government needs to stop worrying about regulating oil prices and take a look at the skyrocketing cost of party cakes, cuz Jesus! $70 people! And I didn't even get what I wanted, should have left, but that's my own bullshit and the topic for a never ending analysis that always ends in self loathing and very little insight, so...

I asked the woman for a brain cake. B-R-A-I-N. Gray matter icing deco on an otherwise round red velvet cake. Not too much to ask, you say? Well apparently, you're wrong. First off, I thought she was going to puke up her lunch on my shirt. Her politically correct eyes sprang open wide and dramatic, you'd think I'd left my SUV idling at the curb, coughing pollutants into her otherwise green existance. She said she could do it, but it was going to require a second tier to mold into the hemispheres and that was going to cost upwards of $150.

I told her, "I'm not planning on marrying it, can't you just design a flat image of a brain on the top?"
"It won't look right without the 3-D effect,"
"Well then maybe you could make it look like an autopsy slice, just a sliver of brain draped across the top, all veiny, but ultimately flat."
"I won't do that. That's disgusting." She didn't blink. Her solemn judgment was not comfortable, I must say.
"Hmm. Did I mention this is for a zombie book." I started to shuffle.
"Doesn't matter. Did I mention I'm doing a cake for the Governor in two days?"
I began to fantasize about a mix-up in the cakes and Mme. Gregoire slicing into a bloody mound of brains.
"How about something more cocktail themed?" I suggested.

So there will be no brain cake at my party and I am full of hate. Won't someone boost my self esteem?

Monday, March 03, 2008

It Has Begun!

I'll be over at the Barnes and Noble Paranormal Book Club all month, so I hope you'll swing by and ask questions, make fun and try to humiliate me. You'll have to register, but with Mario Acevedo taking the reigns in April and Caitlin Kittredge scheduled for May, it'll be well worth your time. It's also a fun forum that I've been hanging out in quite a bit.

If that's not enough to keep you busy, writer bud Stacia Kane has 9 ways to get your grubby little hands on PERSONAL DEMONS, why not swing on over and give her contest a twirl or 9.

Back later with an actual post.