Fans of urban fantasy will find themselves sleep deprived after they start this new series. It’s that hard to put down. Characters with larger-than-life personalities rule against a dark and dangerous backdrop. This is an exciting world you’ll want to escape into again and again. Don’t worry, the next will be out in July!
I also have some VERY IMPORTANT NEWS. Due to some seekrit behind-the-scenes-y bookstore-and-publisher stuff, the release date for UNHOLY MAGIC, the second Downside book, has been delayed by two weeks to JULY 6TH. (Unless something changes, this means you Australia/New Zealand folks will get the book one week before the US, Canada, and the UK/Ireland. Yay you, you get to be the first ones finally, how cool!) Anyway. I apologize to everyone but about the delay but I swear it’s for a good reason and we just might have some stuff here to at least make the waiting easier. So make sure you check back!
I’d planned to post about something else today (Amber Publishing, who are publishing the Downside books in Poland, have posted the cover and blurb on their site, in Polish [of course], which is totally cool), but that, along with the online translation of it, will have to wait. Because I’ve had this post in mind for like a month now, and I want to get it out there. Settle in, guys, this is a long one.
You may have heard of Young Adult Authors Against Bullying, a Facebook group made up of–as the name implies–YA authors who disapprove of bullying. I’m not technically a YA author but I’ve joined, as have a lot of others. And a few weeks ago many writers posted their bullying stories on their blogs. I didn’t; not because I don’t have bullying stories or wasn’t bullied as a child/preteen/teen (believe me, I was, horribly) but because I didn’t learn about it until it was already in progress and I already had this post sort of planned, as I said above.
A lot of this is in reaction to the death of Phoebe Prince, a high-school girl driven to suicide by a gang of less-than-human teenage shitweeds who decided she deserved to be mocked, bullied, teased, insulted, and otherwise abused because she *gasp* dated a guy who used to date one of the aforementioned shitweeds (and the guy later joined in, which just makes me lose hope in the future of humanity, but then, this whole story does).
It reminds me a bit of the Megan Meier case, in which a girl was cyber-bullied not just by kids her own age, but by the mother of one of her acquaintances. A grown fucking woman, who thought it was a good idea to harass and play tricks on a young girl online.
First of all, oops. Remember how Ann Aguirre came and did that awesome guest post, with a contest? Well, see, I thought Ann was going to pick the winners, and Ann (quite reasonably) thought I would. So she emailed me the other day to ask who her winner was, and I of course felt stupid. Anyway. Again using my tried-and-tested-very-scientific-method of having my child pick a random number, I have now selected a winner, and I apologize to Ann and to all of you for the delay. The winner is: Commenter #26, Caitlin U!!
Caitlin, please email me your info, and I’ll forward it on to Ann ASAP.
Now, do I have something cool to show you guys!! HarperVoyager, who are publishing the Downside books in the UK and Australia, have put together a promotional video to celebrate their fifteen years of publishing the best fantasy/urban fantasy/all things kickass. (And seriously, they do; I have shelves of Voyager books from when we lived there.)
This video is AWESOME, guys. Seriously. I was all excited and giggly when I saw it, especially the bit with My Books. So check it out; it’s not superlong but it is supercool:
So earlier today I happened to see something online about the KFC “Double Down” sandwich, which made me immediately think of the Luther Burger, although the version I’d always heard of the Luther Burger involved two jelly donuts used as buns, not grilled glazed donuts, but whatever. The point is, the Double Down sort of resembles the Luther Burger, in that it is disgustingly fatty and is probably delicious if you like that sort of thing; it’s bacon and cheese between two fried chicken fillets.
Anyway, while I have no desire to try to Double Down, reading about it did sort of make me want to have KFC for dinner, simply because why not, it’s been months and months. Hubs opted for Arby’s instead, which was right nearby; he went through the drive-thru there after dropping me off at the KFC to order for me and the kiddies.
Aaanyway. I guess we got there right after the dinner rush or something, because I had to wait a while after I ordered. No problem, I don’t mind. So I got the drinks (remember when you weren’t expected to fill your own cups at the soda dispensers? And how nice that was? I mean, I know fast food is cheap, but really, if I’m expected to work for my food it should be even cheaper. Sorry if that’s whiney; I’ve worked in fast food and I know how shitty it is, but seriously. It’s just weird to be handed an empty cup. Like I’m being told to get it my damn self if I want a damn drink so bad.)
So I get the drinks and stand at the counter, watching the two or three KFC employees racing around trying to fill orders. There was one guy who ordered before me, and then a Boy Scout troop leader who I guess also ordered before me but had wandered off to do something else. He appeared at the counter beside me, in his little Boy Scout outfit, complete with stupid just-below-the-knee shorts. Seriously, men? Stop wearing those fucking things, you look ridiculous in them. It does not, as you may imagine, provide you with some sort of Devil-May-Care insouciance. It makes you look like some creepy serial killer whose Mommy raised him as a girl. Plus, they make you look short and fat. ALL of you. Those things would make Ryan Reynolds look short and fat, and we all know Ryan Reynolds is built like a god or something. A God of sexy-body-ness:
Ugh, I spent the whole weekend feeling lousy, holed up with a migraine and icky tummy and watching TV. So to anyone who went to Frolicon hoping to see me, I apologize.
But! Today I have a fun guest post here! As I promised last week, Ann Aguirre has popped by to chitty-chat with all of you and even give away a book or two. Ann is a great writer and and very cool person and is responsible for giving UNHOLY GHOSTS my favorite blurb ever in the world (“the ultimate bible of badassery.” How awesome is that?) So without further still-trying-to-feel-better blabber from me…
The Great Divide
When I have a new book out, I often do a few guest posts to raise my profile. But I hate writing about the work itself. In my opinion, it should stand on its own… or not. There’s nothing I can say that will make anyone like my writing more—and in fact, I’ve found that trying to talk yourself up just leaves people thinking you’re a douche and not wanting to buy your books anyway. So I don’t do that.
Which often leaves me scrambling for a topic. Today, I’m writing about what’s on my mind—the idea that authors can’t be reviewers or readers. I had a conversation on Twitter about this with KatieBabs, MCVane, and CranberryTarts. If there were others involved, I apologize. Feel free to chime in here on this post and remind me what you said.
I think there does come a point where you have to choose your hat. Before I sold, I reviewed. This was mostly to get free books because I live in Mexico, and getting new fiction in English is a pain in the ass. But I did it honestly; I tried to explain why things didn’t work for me. Granted, mine is only one opinion—and it doesn’t weigh more heavily than anyone else’s. So my reviews were not of great moment. I hurt a few feelings, I am sure. That was never my intention, but it happens.
However, as my career took off, I decided I was an author first. And part of that means not slagging off my colleagues because honesty aside, there is always the “competition” factor. People read your nasty review and think, damn, she’s just jealous that X is doing so much better than she is. It makes you come across as petty, even if you just genuinely didn’t like the book. MCVane said something that stuck with me, and made me go, yes, that. “Reviewers ‘sell’ their credibility. Authors ‘sell’ their personas & books.” I find this absolutely true, which means there is something of a conflict of interest going on there. It just makes good business sense not to alienate your colleagues, no matter how you feel about their work. If you hate a book, tell your friends; don’t tell the whole internet.
That leaves the author and reader hat. I am, by choice, an author first, but I love books. I still love to read. I’m always bemused when I read authors saying they don’t read. I’m like, then why are you writing? Loving someone else’s work first is what made me want to do this in the first place. Books have always been there for me, even when life was so bad I had no other comfort, nobody else to turn to. But I could always get lost in a book and forget my own pain. As a kid, that meant walking on the highway, age at ten, two miles to the library in town, and one day, a guy in a green El Camino stopped to show me his junk. I ran into the fields and hid until he went away. But even that didn’t stop me from making my weekly trek because books were my world. That kind of lifelong commitment doesn’t go away because I’m writing my own stories now.
And that’s why I’m so puzzled when readers act like I’m not one of them. Like there is some great divide between us. I love words. I love pages. I love the smell of a book. I miss so much being able to go into an all-English bookstore and just stand there, totally surrounded by what I love. I may be a writer, but I am still one of you. I don’t slag my colleagues, but I don’t slag readers either. I respect you because you share my greatest love.
I am grateful when someone buys my books. I am grateful when they tell me I moved or entertained them. That’s so much more than I ever could’ve imagined, as that chunky ten-year-old girl trudging down the gravel shoulder of the highway, carrying a faded Jabberjaw backpack.
Feel free to disagree with me, if you think authors are no longer readers, or if you think authors should be writing fiery, controversial reviews. A random commenter will receive Blue Diablo (if they haven’t read it) and Hell Fire.