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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

All Tagged Up and Endangered

Two different meme tags in less than a week. Most recently by Jackie Kessler. It's that book thing. Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you’ve posted your three sentences.

The book is CHOKE by Chuck Palahniuk and not for the squeamish or easily offended.

Here goes...

The milkmaid, Ursula, comes out of the cow shed and looks at us with her stoner eyes just about filled with blood.

"If there was a girl you liked," I say to him, "if she wanted to have sex just to get pregnant, would you?"

Ursula grabs her skirts up and comes stomping through the cow poop in her wooden clogs.

***********

And there you have it. But much like I'll throw caution to the wind when I get a chain email, I shan't be paying either of these memes forward.

Here's the next one. Your standard 6 things meme attributed to one Karen Duvall.

6 what, though?

I'll just wing it...

1. My dogs are trying to kill me. I woke up last night at 2:30 with my oldest mongrel panting while sprawled across my legs. The middle child crept up my left side and tried to strangle me by pressing her throat against mine, while the baby burrowed under my shoulder. Why can't I just have regular insomnia?

2. I'm addicted to Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel. Have you seen that shit? The season finale is on now. I think he just ate some scrotum.

3. Caroline and I started Atkins again. So far so good. While I'm definitely craving carbs, I'm already feeling more alert and less lethargic. It's only been two days. That says a lot about the effects of sugar and simple carbohydrates.

4. Heard the new Ladytron today. Black Cat. There's a harder edge to it, want to hear it?



5. I'm bound and determined to get Road Trip of the Living Dead spotless and ready for John to hand over to the copy editor...by FRIDAY!

6. The Day of the Dead remake is a serious piece of crap, but an oddly appropriate double feature with Michael Moore's Sicko.

Done.

Books, Books and More Books

It's a big day for urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Just check out the book birthdays over at Urban Fantasy Land. Break a leg, ladies!

One of the things I forgot to mention in my previous RT blogs were all the free and signed books I snagged. Take a look...


So some of these are mine, but more importantly some of them are for you. Where should we begin? I'm thinking Personal Demons, since I'm throwing Stacia a book club at the League (save the date: May 12th). This one's not signed, since she's trapped in the Tower of London or somewhere, chained to a computer. So how about a contest?

Are you up for it?

Since Stacia's main character is a psychotherapist and I've got a bit of experience with that, let's roll with our best advice. Just leave it in the comments and I'll choose a winner at random. There are no wrong answers.

My best advice: Never go to bed angry...or...resolve the issue before it has time to fester.

I'll draw on Friday. That's it. Go!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Revenge of the Monster Blog

Now, where was I?

Saturday, I think. The big day. Book fair. 300 or so authors lined up behind tables like buffet selections. The day started off like the previous three: coffee downstairs, checking email, chatting with Kim and Guy, who were the other early risers in the UF bunch. The authors were asked to set up at 10:00 for the 11:00 event, so I showed up at 9:45. I was a little excited and not just for the signing but to meet all my lj peeps.

I found my spot, which was primo, Megan Hart and Kim Harrison. How much does that rock? I had like 20 or so books stacked up and waiting for me at my spot and the overwhelming feeling that they'd be there at the end, too. I set up my stuff and went off in search of trouble.


Looks like I found some and a photographer with a grudge (do I not look gassy?--ladies and gentleman, I present the worst photo of me that I didn't intentionally mean to be wretched--thanks Chris!). Caitlin and Marjorie are no doubt trouble makers. Just look what Marjorie can do...


Awesome, right? It's THE CLAW. She's like quadruple jointed, I think. The whole table gasped when she pulled that talent out of her bag of tricks. After that, I couldn't stop asking her to show it to me. What can I say, I'm a freak.

I even got interviewed on camera (not sure by who)...


They were very nice and whether I ever see the spot or not, I'll always have the evidence to prove it.

I took some shots of everyone at their spots, but Jocelynn already posted all of those, so here's a couple she missed.

Jennifer Estep...


Who's so cute, I just want to squeeze her. And here's Patrice Michelle...


Who's totally gorgeous and has more books than me in front of her (I can't help but think she arranged it that way to wittle away my self esteem). I'll get you Patrice!

The five minute warning rang out over the crowd and I stumbled back to my seat, bumping such luminaries as Cheryl Holt and Leigh Greenwood. I think I even yelled, "Outta my way!!!"

The doors opened and we were swamped with readers. I sold out of my stash in less than an hour and spent the rest of the time apologizing and collecting addresses to send signed bookplates. But for me, the main event didn't happen until Plague Carrier #1 and Todd arrived.


There's Missy (PC#1) and I chatting with Kim Harrison. And here's...


Todd catching up with Richelle. Missy even made me a shirt, which I model in this next shot...


It has a "Hello My Name WAS" image on the front, with a handwritten font that says "Patient Zero." On the back is a cover picture of Happy Hour. I was ecstatic, needless to say. We set up a time to meet with the rest of the LJ group who wandered over throughout the rest of the three hour fair. Who, you ask? sadieloree, brian_ohio (oh yes people, he has a face and not just one big cyclops like we all assumed), sakibebe, reneesweet, and macbeaner (who directed our food choices in the days leading up to the fair, thanks lady! Primanti's was awesome).

You know who else was there?


Ms. Stacia Kane. With so many people stopping by, how could I not set up this shrine (courtesy of Todd) and it got the attention, I can tell you.

At about 1:45 there was a blackout. Like so...


Which I thought was awesome. I was talking to Caitlin and Jeaniene at the time and got this amazing shot in the dark...


Weird, right? It's like instinct for those two (or maybe Barry was behind me). My own picture would have turned out looking like a complete fucktard.

After the lights, I got into the line for the cash registers. Do you think I could go to a place with all those books and not spend 5 times the amount I made in royalties? It's impossible. I've got some giveaways (signed, of course) coming up in various spots over the next month or so. Then it was off to lunch and cocktails with this pack of fine folks...


Great time and steak salads with fries on top. In fact, everything in Pittsburgh was served with fries on top--I worry about their sex industry. August Henry's was the hang (no relation) with the $5 Long Island Ice Teas, so thank the good Barry for that. I got some shots of the peeps...


Who were so nice, I'm probably going to have to stalk and kill them--I mean become bffs with them. That's what I mean. Not kill them. No killing. Killing is bad.

Anyway, lunch was way too short and we ended up racing back to the Hilton parting ways with new friends and snarking the hell out of the cover model mangeant. I got separated from the regular group and ended up in the back row with Miriam, Jeaniene, Rachel and Jocelynn, just ahead of us were Patrice and, I'd later learn, the Rebel Girls of Romance, Liz Maverick and Marianne Mancusi.


Jocelynn and I must never sit together again because I coudn't resist making fun of the models, particularly the one that expressed his romantic nature through "pomes." I also couldn't hold back on finishing descriptions with "in the ass."

Like so...

Madeline clawed at Victor's chest; their passion threatened to consume them...in the ass.

You get the picture. The rest was like I said in my live blog from the event. Crazy. Seriously, cover models acting out the actual covers. I nearly peed myself. God bless 'em.

I don't know that I have anything else for you. We ended the night with more cocktails than should be consumed on another publishing house's dime and the week with more friends than when it began. I met tons of people, booksellers, librarians, reviewers, bloggers, writers and most importantly readers (though I think everyone there fit into that category).

Can't wait for next year in Orlando. We're going to have to add in a second week just to see the sights.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monster Blog is Gonna Getchoo!

After my big ass photo essay over on Fangs, Fur and Fey, things got a little hectic down Pittsburgh way. I met tons of awesome people that I can't resist telling all you guys about, drank way too much and slept less than a whore at a sex addicts convention. But, rather than drag this out, I'm going to just throw some pictures at you and see what sticks.

Like so...

Sure, old people are okay, if you don't mind the same faces and stuff, but new people are just...so new. Take this grouping (taken after the AM caffeination).


There are only two old faces in there (mine and Caitlin's). You got your Jenna Black (The Devil Inside), Kim Harrison (uhhhhhhhh.), Jackie Kessler (The Road to Hell), Rachel Vincent (Rogue), Caitlin Kittredge (Night Life) and Jocelyn Drake (Nightwalker). That's an impressive line-up no matter how you slice it--and do slice it.

Let's see who else...


The awesome Barbara Vey, who's really the author's best friend and the neatest lady I've met in years. She even took a video of our Club RT basket giveaway for her blog. Check it out. It's the last one.

Here's more...


Jeaniene and Melissa joined up with the gang on Thursday. With that camera on her hip, I should have asked Melissa to do a picture of me taking a picture of her, as I'm so fond of.

Here's some evidence...


That's from a panel called Demons are the New Black, which I was lucky enough to get in on because I happen to know the Commodore of Urban Fantasy Richelle Mead. Here's what we looked like all talking over each other and just generally smarting off like it was high school again...


I think the only two noobs in this shot are the fantastic Carole Nelson Douglas and fun agent gal Miriam Kriss, though if you need assistance with the other characters, just drop me a comment. The panel went well. I spewed my zombie bullshit and the crowd giggled uncomfortably. You know, the usual.

Anyway, enough of the standard stuff. You've seen it already. Let me get to work.

Weird shit goes down at RT. That's why it's not suited for hotels that aren't under a cloud of dusty construction poison. Cover models freak out, people get bitchy and various body fluids slosh under foot. This is no meeting of the association of accountants, these people play hard.

Speaking of hard, there was a certain gentleman on the scene that caught our attention right away. Let's call him Mophead, for lack of better word. We thought he was simply a poorly styled calendar guy when we took this here photo...


It was later, when one Michelle Rowen secured an EC calendar that we found out that Mophead was actually Christian, the star of a little known "independent" film called M@ximum Thrust. Here he is now mere seconds away from an "O" face...


Score! C'mon, how often do you get a chance to mingle with porn stars? Seriously, we don't live in the valley and in truth, he seemed like a nice enough guy, but God won't someone please tell him that hair is better suited to a barbecue brush?

Speaking of hair. Barry Eisler. Seriously. Enough said.

Because I'm Washington pasty, the Gods sent the sun in the form of Michelle Rowen, who brightened the kids table at Palomino and brought a blush to my cheeks with her saucy chat. It's rare when I find someone that I click with, someone I don't have to worry about censoring myself around because they just get it, like an instinct. She's new BFF #1 (there are 5). Here's a shot with Michelle and...well let's just call her NYT #7...


We ran into BFF#2 at the Faery Ball. I'd picked up Dakota Cassidy's ACCIDENTAL WEREWOLF, when Happy Hour came out, simply because it was the most similar in tone and often was sitting right next to my book on the new release tables. So when Dakota breezed by our table, I couldn't resist going all fan boy. Then...

I heard the voice. Dense throaty velvet. Holy crap. You may not know it, but that's my thing. It is. The lady is funny as hell. We could riff and that's the key indicator of whether someone gets to hang. Dakota can hang whenever she likes. Here she is with Erika (who you'll see more of in a bit)...


Speaking of balls, here's a shot of mine...


Oh...wait. That's my artist's rendering of the Cover Model Reunion Dinner menu (you might need to click it to get the full majesty of my vision.

The ball I meant to talk about was the vampire ball. I gots me some of those realistic vamp teeth glued in threw on the black velvet and I was ready to chow down...

...and there's Caroline, looking forlorn for Patrice Michelle (behind the lens). The vampire ball definitely had some high and low points. Sadly, mostly low. Though I did have a moderately exciting bonding moment with Kim Harrison. You see, we were roughly in the middle of the line when the doors opened and for some reason, a second door opened behind us, leaving us at the end of the line.

I looked at Kim and nearly in unison, we said, "Oh Hells no," and snuck in a side door. When we turned around no one had followed but we got a table and that's the important thing. Later we were dubbed "Bad asses" and promptly bumped knuckles like the Wonder Twins.

This completes my Kim Harrison story.

Other crap happened, including F. Paul Wilson (Repairman Jack) singing Hotel California as an undead butler and Erika arriving in fantastic zombie drag...


Erika and Christine were awesome to hang out with, just really fun and super nice. Erika's costuming skills were way beyond the rest of the attendees and she was robbed at the faery ball contest. 4th? C'mon.

Kensington through their authors a party at Palamino and even though we came late, Kate and Maureen plied us with liquor and cheesy dips. For which we knocked back $40 in free hooch each. Cuz we're naughty. Palomino was our main hang as the service at the Hilton pub was a tad surly. If you get to Pittsburgh make sure to stop in for a pomegranate mojito, they're the shit. You know who we met there?


Heather Osborn and Jozelle Dyer, the fabulous ladies of Tor. These two are officially BFFs #s 3 and 4. After the meet up we were inseparable. Many tried to...and failed. Cut to the quick by are sharp tongues and prison shanks.

The last two days of the con were just way too action packed to tell you about in this post. You got your book fair blackout, the mangeant, the plague carrier and the rest of the lj peeps.

They deserve their own post so I'm calling it quits.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nearly 24 Hours of Romance

I'm exhausted, withered and flaccid, just generally, not down there...or anything, though I haven't checked. I could be completely immasculated for all I know--too tired to look. The sizzling estrogen of so many Romance and PR fan is soaking through my pores, I've felt a nagging sense of Regency...I mean urgency to get out of here and explore the City of Steel. A recharge from all the metal skyscrapers might restore my dwindling testosterone, to dip into a phallic reference. But before I go there, lets take a trip on a jet plane...

Like I said, Caitlin pulled up to the house at 3:15 (that's AM) and we drove to the offsite parking for Seatac, which turned out to be the Best Value Inn and Lighted Parking (thank you internets), I half expected to kick the dead hookers out of the way to get into the office, luckily they were only passed out.

Because we couldn't get a flight on Air Lingus (spelling?)--one, they don't fly domestically outside of Ireland and two, 6:00 am is far too early to live out an erotic fantasy--we flew out on Delta. The first leg to Salt Lake was short, a little bumpy, not too bad. We were just super excited to check out the airport gift shops for secret Mormon underwear. Denied.

Flight 2 was where the magic happened. Here's a clue...


How close do you have to be seated near the bathroom to could a shot like that? Pretty close, we were in the last row of coach and desperately wished that the passengers would prefer to take a first class dump, sadly no...coach dumps for us. Why does this happen to you Mark, you ask? Because I'm...me. Luckily, I'm creative and crafty. Here I am sniffing wetnaps to get me through the hard times.


And no I'm not cutting onions, those eyes are near tears. Bless my heart.

As if we didn't we weren't busy enough fighting off the ass attacks, yesterday was tax day. We were lucky enough to get off the plane in Pittsburgh and walk right up to an airport post office. Taxes sent and nearly an hour before the PO closed, too. Who are you calling a procrastinator?

The Hilton, wouldn't you know, is under construction, though our room is nice and quiet, so I can't really complain...nope. Can't think of anything other than the main convention area is a tad claustrophobic. Got to meet lots of cool folks: Jeri Smith-Ready, Jeanne Stein, Patrice Michelle and Ms. Jackie Kessler of the sexy demons. Food, drinks, more food followed. Plans were made to meet up again at 8 in the morning.

What time did I get up? 8:20. I was freakin' wasted, I won't lie--the Caipirinha was like drinking Nyquil on the rocks. Not drunk mind you...wasted. I felt like crap. Three hours sleep only takes you so far.

So Richelle spread guilt through a text to my phone and I was off with the swag for a stuffing party, registration and Martha Stewart style basket creation (oh yes, I gots the pride). I'll post a picture of the majesty later. The test-tubes of genuine zombie plague won't last the day. I've refilled the rack three times, and it was dwindling away quicker than my hair follicles. Lucky, I've got the postcards. Did I mention that the pens didn't show up on time. Oh yeah. No Mark Henry pens.

Why? I think you know the answer. Yep...me.

It was time to get lost in Pittsburgh. Here are some Pittsburghers committing Pittsburghery...


At this time, Caroline and I were busy forcing Primanti Brother's Pittsburgh Cheesesteaks into our gaping maws. Unlike the Philly variety, these babies are loaded with french fries and slaw. Gullet-friendly is the verdict.

Pittsburgh has a real eastern block before the fall feel with plenty of steel buildings and utititarian architecture hovering over old stone churches. It's really quite interesting and beautiful, but...hey, I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid and am still infatuated, a bit.

Whaddya think?


That's by Mellon Bank (for the few Pittsburgh natives on my f-list).


Awesome f**kin' roof, eh?


Disco Stegausoarus, I love you most of all! This guy was in this superweird black glass plaza with a roof like castle turrets (spelling? I almost thought I'd spelled Tourette's, which would have forced me to use various slang terms for vagina. How could I not?).

Anyway, next up is the Fangs, Fur and Fey meet up and some Ellora's Cave party which should totally have a uterus theme, unless someone missed the metaphor.

Back later!

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm Outtie Dee! RT Here I Comes!

After one of the most crazy days ever, full of running errands, coming home, realizing that I forgot something, running back out, coming home and then having to do the two hour trek to the accountant's to pick up the taxes which were late getting done--I'm told--as a result of our accountant reading my book (I gladly accepted that blame), I'm finally settling in to relax before Caitlin shows up on our doorstep at the God-awful hour of 3:15 A.M.

I must chill.

...and pack (and apparently blog).

Good thing I can sleep on a plane. Oh...wait. No I can't.

But I can read. I'm finally going to finish Rayo Casablanca's super sick (and awesome) 6 SICK HIPSTERS and jump into some Palahniuk (Choke), which is a great way to gear up for the writing that needs to happen after I get back from the convention. It seems I've been stalling on getting anything substantive done on the new book. Getting ready for a con is a great procrastination excuse, but after I get back no more excuses. It's on. Right?

Anyway, blogging will probably be minimal, as will responding to email. I can't wait to meet all the writers and lj peeps that I'm hoping actually exist and aren't just a figment of my imagination.

See you all there!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Susan? Are You Out There?

I got an email from Miles at Powell's in Beaverton, you left your signed (and paid for) copy of Happy Hour at the signing. They're holding it there for you!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Book Review: Personal Demons by Stacia Kane



I've been excited about this book longer than you have--bet you 5 dollars. I've been following Personal Demons since it was a tiny little hook contest entry on the now defunct Miss Snark (or was it Evil Editor?). A radio shrink (think Dr. Laura only with actual insight and ethics) inadvertantly starts a war with the "personal demons" that hang out on the shoulders of every man, woman and child. Awesome, right? Anyway, I took the bait, waited and emailed the author, struck up a neat little friendship, and here I am pimping her out like my favorite hooker (my less favorite hookers find their own dates).

I got myself a snazzy little PDF of this gem because I'm special (and not in a retarded way...well sometimes, but that's beside the point). So here goes...

Personal Demons is a supersexy urban fantasy, some might say paranormal romance, but like all good demon fiction, the sin of lust takes precedence over anything as wholesome as that other L word. Megan Chase, psychic therapist (though the psychic part is a secret), is up to her ears in crazy clients, radio station politics and zombies! After a near fatal attack, she's let in on a little secret: those personal demons she claims to slay on her radio talk show? Um..a wee bit miffed. It seems she's been marked for death, which is really bad timing because she's being tailed by a reporter hot for a story and a demon hot for some tail. To make things right, Megan must do battle with the spawn of Satan (both in and out of the bedroom) and the skeletons in her own closet.

Kane serves up a malevolently entertaining entry into the urban fantasy genre, the action is fierce and the sex is bonerific (I think you know what I mean), her characters are well drawn and damaged, just like I like 'em--Megan, in particular, is so engaging you'll be missing her from the second you turn that final page--and the story clips along with the urgency of an IBS victim with a public bathroom phobia.

Good work, Stacia. I had a feeling it was going to be awesome. But if you don't believe me, check out these blurbs, which may or may not be fictional--who's to say, really?

"Can I have s'more, please?"
--Pip, Dickens Character and Demon Sex Afficionado

"Greyson Dante can pound my dead ass, anytime."
--Amanda Feral, Celebrity Ghoul and Polite Gentlewoman

"Personal Demons? Mine don't seem to give a crap what's going on with me. More like Impersonal. Hmmph."
--Shitney, Waning Pop Star

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Playing Catch Up (Now with Added Butcherness)

Holy crap! Have I not posted since Monday? Something's wrong with me. This schedule is making me feel old. I layed down for a nap yesterday at 3:00 and woke up at 6:30. I never do that. Never.

Of course, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep the night before. That was Tuesday, and so I'll start there.

I was hoping to begin my day by pimping out my favorite urban fantasy chick, Stacia Kane (Personal Demons), but as it turns out, she told me to hold off as the book isn't shipping yet. That made me grumpy. I know how good it is and I can't wait for everybody else to know, too. But, I relented (kinda).

Next up, Caitlin and I met up to get up to Seattle early for the Jim Butcher bacchanalia. Also to catch up with Lisa Lutz (The Spellman Files), who was signing at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, only we got there 5 minutes after she left, so I'm a big loser. So we goofed off in downtown a bit, Caitlin signed some books at Synde's Barnes and Noble where the endcap is gloriously Team Seattle, we had sushi at Todai, which was great except for the Philly roll (lox and cream cheese) grossing me out.

Then it was off to Victrola for actual writing. That's Caitlin over there doing just that (or at the very least blogging about facebook). By the way, those metal stools were hard on the ass. I'm just sayin'. Luckily the folk art paintings of blood-thirsty bunnies made up for the discomfort and possible hemorrhoids (also known as piles, which conjures up so many images, I'll keep those to myself--for now). Anyway, got some decent work done on a zombie skin care infomercial for the opening of American Minions. Caitlin likely thought I was insane as I often giggle to myself while I'm writing, but she was nice enough to keep her judgments to herself.

By the time we got to the Butcher shindig, it was packed. We ended up packed into chairs in the Mystery section, with this awesome view of Jim...

Oh...I meant NO view. Ah, well at least we had fun cracking jokes with Synde and Jeff, a new guy who hung out with us the rest of the night. It's nice to find people who can overlook the fact that we're generally unpleasant. Thanks Jeff!

The store closed and Jim had to sign a mountain of books, but we did end up going out to dinner with him and he showed us the totally awesome first edition of the Dresden Files comic (on his laptop), which is amazing (the comic, not the laptop), beautifully drawn and has a really fun kick-off story. Jim was fun, talkative and by midnight, looked as tired as I felt, so Caitlin and I drove him back to his hotel.

So, yeah. A late night, followed by an early morning--he dogs are trained to go outside at 7 and once they're up going back to sleep is out of the question. So I dragged ass yesterday, didn't do a damn thing I'd consider productive. What I needed to do was...

1. Mention that Mario Acevedo has taken over the Barnes and Noble Paranormal Book Club, so hit that shit hard and often.
2. Pimp out Rachel Vincent's Rogue, Rayo Casablanca's 6 Sick Hipsters (review coming soon) and Ekaterina Sedia's anthology Paper Cities, which I'm super excited about reading (I pimped Missy Ilona's Magic Burns over at the League, along with a farewell note).
3. Let people know about this super cool event that's going down in Olympia (click to make it bigger)...

Let's file this particular flyer under the glamorous life of a debut novelist, because guess who had to create it? My publicist? No no. Hehe. That'd be me. So if you're in the area, or have a car and are willing to put some miles on it, we'd love to have you. Plus, Artisan is the one with the best red velvet cake evah!

4. Remind people that Happy Hour of the Damned is the League book club pick and today we're talking about spoilers. Come for the gut gravy, stay for the witty repartee!