Archive for the 'Guest Post' Category
What Stace had to say on Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
I hope you had a great new year. Personally, I’m hoping 2013 will be a lot better than 2012, which sucked for a number of reasons. Thirteen is an exceedingly good number, though, so fingers crossed.
I’ll have a post in the next week or so with some more details/info about the Terrible novella (which just might finally have a title!); it’ll be an FAQ-style thing, so if you have any questions please do leave them in comments or use the Contact form to ask away. (I’ve already had quite a few questions about it, so I figure this will be the best way to answer them all.)
But today I have something a little different! Emily Winslow is a pal of mine from Absolute Write, and I think her book sounds awesome, so I asked her if she wanted to share an excerpt here today (it was supposed to be for yesterday, but yesterday went a bit haywire for me. My oven was condemned last week–no, seriously, I didn’t know that could happen either. But it’s a very old oven [like thirty years, I think] and the gas man came to look at it and decided we shouldn’t use it any more. So our wonderful landlord has gotten us a new oven, which will be delivered Friday [it is sad how excited I am about this]. The problem is, our old oven is smaller than what seems to have become the standard size for ovens these days, so we had a choice: buy an oven the same size as the current one for like £800, or take three inches off our countertop and buy a slightly bigger oven for a lesser price. Our landlord and I both felt the latter was the best option. So yesterday I had a bunch of work to do in the kitchen, both clearing and cleaning/tidying, and making a meal for Stephen’s co-worker who brought his big impressive power saw over to perform a countertop circumcision. Of course, the worst/hardest work is yet to come, because our old oven has its own backsplash thingy, whereas the new one does not, which means I’ll have like thirty years of grime to scrub off the tiles behind it once it’s gone, not to mention I will then need to paint those tiles to match the rest of them, and all that stuff. Not looking forward to that, particularly, or to what I am certain will be a shockingly filthy floor beneath, but oh well. I get a new oven. And the bottoms of my pots will hopefully no longer be crusted with soot after each use, requiring a complicated cleaning system involving toothbrushes and scrubby sponges just to keep them from staining my shelves. I have digressed quite a bit).
Point is, I spent all day yesterday Doing House Things, so I apologize to Emily for not posting this then. The good news, though, is that here it is now, and I hope you all enjoy it!
In the office, Lucy was talking with the new girl, who brought a newspaper in with her every day. Sometimes she spread it out on the table and it would overlap some of my envelopes. I don’t like to touch newsprint. On this one, the greasy ink made a generic picture of the river Nene in flood, near Peterborough. The words said a body had surfaced in the water there.
Lucy called the new girl Enid, which is how I learned her name. She said, “Enid, that’s disgusting!”
“That’s what water does. They have no idea who she was or how long she’s been there, really. Less than a year. More than a month. There were some hairs left to say she was fair. . . .”
I couldn’t see my notebook. The paper was opened wide, not even folded once. My notebook had to be under there. I looked for its outline, but the page about the dead person lay lightly. It curved. Anything could be under there. Or nothing. The other side, the rest of the news, lay thick and flat.
“Hi, Mathilde,” Enid said. “We’ll all have to be more careful. Someone doesn’t like girls with fair hair.”
I have fair hair. Enid’s hair is shit brown.
“She’s joking,” Lucy said. “Seriously, Enid. There’s nothing about any other victims.”
Enid shrugged. “Just haven’t found them yet.”
“Mattie, are you looking for this?” Lucy took my notebook off the seat next to her. She held it by its binding, which left the pages to flap.
I couldn’t speak. I willed her to put it down. Instead, she stood and walked around the table, holding it out. I didn’t move. “I’ll just put it in your bag,” she said. The bag had slid down to my elbow. It hung open there. The letter poked out the top.
I swung at her with the bag and took the notebook with my other hand. “Jesus Christ,” she said, jumping back. No one was in the way. I got out.
From THE START OF EVERYTHING by Emily Winslow, a novel of psychological suspense, which launches in the US from Delacorte Press, a division of Random House, today (yesterday). In hardcover, ebook and audio. The UK edition will launch in June.
“[Winslow is] brilliant at portraying the ragged fragments of these lives. What emerges isn’t a single killer with motive and means, but a tangle of stories crossing and colliding, stray intersections of incidents and accidents, misunderstandings, and misreadings, all thanks to the myopia of individual perspectives and the self-centeredness of individual desires.”
- The Washington Post
“Outstanding… A literary mystery, there are multiple viewpoints, the use of present tense and jumps in time. This dark thriller will bring chills and heavy atmosphere up to the shocking end.”
- Romantic Times, 4.5 stars out of 5
“Winslow’s second novel is compulsively readable with a final twist; a treat especially for fans of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell.”
What Stace had to say on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
Yay! I love when my friends blog for me! Kevin is a fellow member of the League of Reluctant Adults, and he has three releases this summer, so here he is!
First, I’d like to thank Stacia for being so spiffy as to let me hang out here. It’s just one o’ many reasons why I owe her something strong in a short glass (which may or not be adorned with a piece of fruit).
One reason I owe her is because of last summer. I’ve been waiting around for my debut since the fall of 2009; I could have debuted in 2010, but Del Rey convinced me to try an unusual release schedule where my first three books would come out only a month apart, blam-blam-blam. Last year, I got to watch how that worked for Stacia, since she had the same release schedule for her Downside books with the same publisher. Aside from all the reviews and chatter about the books on the Internet(s), I saw in bookstores that you couldn’t avoid seeing her titles—all three facing out—unless you were determined to be boring and stay in the nonfiction section.
And then, of course, the covers were so awesome you had to pick them up and see what was up. At least, you had to if you like to look at beautiful people.
Shall I simulate a male reader’s thoughts as he walks by three books featuring Chess Putnam? “Wait. That girl on the cover is hot. And there she is again! Dude! Third time’s the charm! And she’s getting hotter! Why is she looking at me? What is this series about? I wonder if there are any naughty bits inside?”
Watching how it worked was valuable for me since I’d missed out on the last time this had been done—years ago with Naomi Novik’s Temeraire novels. It’s a strategy that encourages avid readers to begin a series with three books in quick succession while simultaneously luring in bookstore browsers with a strong presence on the shelves.
It’s been a long wait to see HOUNDED hit the market, but now it’s out there and will be followed by its sequels in June and July.
I will not even attempt to simulate a female reader’s thoughts on seeing these covers, though I will offer a quote a friend of mine: “Yum!” she said. Succinctly put, I thought.
The series is about a Druid—apparently a yummy one—named Atticus O’Sullivan, who’s been hiding out from Irish gods for a couple of millennia. He keeps his appearance youthful to blend in, and who would object to looking that good forever? The novel begins as the Irish gods find him and he decides to fight instead of run. But this decision will have a sort of domino effect among many pantheons besides the Irish one. You can get a rundown on all the books by clicking here, and since I’m all over the Internet(s) today, including the homes of many Leaguers, you can get a list of what’s going on at which site by visiting my blog.
What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 30th, 2010
A special treat today! You don’t have to read more of my own disjointed ramblings, you get to read an interview with an actual real writer, lol, who makes sense and doesn’t just whine about stuff. Marta Acosta, who in addition to writing her terrifically funny books also runs the very popular Vampire Wire blog, has agreed to grace us all with her presence and show me how real writers behave when being interviewed (I suspect she wasn’t even drunk when she answered these questions!)
An artist’s rendering of Marta:
So Marta, thanks for stopping by today! You’ve written four books in the Casa Dracula series; the new one, HAUNTED HONEYMOON, is the last. Could you give the readers a general idea of what the series is about?
Thanks for having me, Stacia! The Casa Dracula books are romantic comedies about quirky, fun, sexy, and bright Milagro de Los Santos, who gets accidentally infected with vampirism and involved with a pack of snobby vampires. These people claim that they aren’t vampires, but have a genetic condition. During the course of the books, Milagro falls in and out of love, escapes anti-vampire extremists, defeats vampire zealots, tries to earn a living, while finding time for flirting and parties.
Each book is also a step forward as Milagro grows up and finds her place in the world.
Haunted Honeymoon is the final book in the series. Can you give readers a hint of what to expect?
Mil is having a torrid affair with dangerous and secretive Ian Ducharme, a member of the Vampire Council, but she still misses her ex-fiance Oswald Grant. She distrusts Ian and finds him immoral, while she admires Oswald. When Ian’s shenanigans with his seductive neighbor infuriate Mil, she takes off to London for a job assignment and meets a sexy young vamp who’s both a good guy and fun, too.
When she returns home, though, the bodies start piling up and Mil is being set up for murder. She’s basically kidnapped, held, and “harshly” questioned by a nameless organization. She escapes and runs to Oswald’s ranch. An accidental blow to her head results in amnesia and she forgets all about her life with the vampires. She’s got the opportunity for a re-do with Oswald, but she’s also got enemies looking for her. Will she make the same mistakes again?
So what made you want to do more humorous urban fantasy? Did it just come out that way, or did you always want to write funny?
I always wrote funny. I wrote serious too. I studied creative writing at a Fancy University and I wrote really grim, third-person, present tense fiction. However, every now and then I’d crack and turn in a completely inane story with cartoons. I’d read it to the class and everyone would stare at me and I could practically see the little WTF? bubbles over their heads.
It wasn’t my intention to write urban fantasy. When I started my first Casa Dracula book, I hadn’t even heard the term urban fantasy. I was just writing a funny story to amuse myself. I wanted to make spoof cliches about vampires being rich, gorgeous, and accomplished, and that fit well with a comedy-of-manners set up. Toss an aimless, broke, sexy, bright, and snarky girl into the scene and hit the frappe button.
Legend has it that Sir Donald Wolfit’s last words were, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Do you agree? And do you think he came up with that line years before and was just waiting to use it?
Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Thursday, July 29th, 2010
So, yes, unfortunately I was all stressed out earlier this week and it made me sick and I’m only just sort of moving around again. Well, I started moving around again yesterday but today I actually feel up to spending most of my time in a vertical position, which is, you know, pretty exciting.
Anyway. Yes, CITY OF GHOSTS was released, and I feel all bereft and weird that my summer release odyssey is complete and there are No More Worlds To Conquer and all of that. At least not until I get books 4 and 5 written, which I shall be starting next month!
But let me quickly point out for those of you who haven’t seen that we’ve done some updates to the site here, including some Deleted Scenes from UNHOLY MAGIC. Check the Fun Stuff page for more, well, fun stuff, an the Media page for interviews and guest blog posts on all sorts of different aspects of the Downside books and characters.
I’ll be back Tuesday with a much longer and more in-depth regular post–tomorrow morning I’m heading to Orlando to crash RWA for a day or two–and in the meantime, my friend David Bridger has just had a book release with Liquid Silver, and here’s here to do a little guest post for me and be all mushy and romantic and stuff. No, seriously, I make fun, because I’m immature, but it really is a lovely post, and David is a lovely man, so enjoy.
Thanks for inviting me, Stace. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be here with you today.
Since Beauty and the Bastard was released last week, I’ve been thinking about love a lot. Romantic love and other kinds of love, in life and in art.
I realised long ago that everything I write has love in it, and that came as no big surprise because I’ve always been a romantic. I’m someone who sees the romance storyline in action movies like The Terminator and Batman Begins. Yes, Stace, and Die Hard. [Hee! --SK]
Many paranormal romance and urban fantasy stories deal with love in its early stages, when everything is shiny new and heartstopping. And that’s great. I enjoy reading and writing that sort of love, especially when the world is exploding into some grim nightmare around the lovers and they have to deal with all that shit as well as coming to terms with their feelings for each other. It’s magical.
I’m on Team Terrible, by the way, but no spoilers please. Unholy Magic is still on my bedside table, waiting for this blog tour to end, and my pre-ordered City of Ghosts will arrive any time now, so you can bet my nose will be buried in them as soon as my feet touch the ground next week. Because Chess and Terrible? They’re exactly what I’m talking about here. (I hope. ? )
But the kind of love my thoughts have been dwelling on recently is an older love. One that’s had its share of good times and bad, yet still holds together. Maybe one that’s walked through hell and come out the other side, and still holds together.
My wife and I share a love like that.
We’d been married for nine years when our world slid into one of those grim nightmares, that are so great to read and write but not so great to live in. Up until then, we’d been through the normal variety of experiences and we were doing okay. We had three lovely daughters and each of us was enjoying a good career. Then I came home a bit war-damaged and everything changed.
I was paralysed at first, and we had no way of knowing if I’d ever move again. I did, but it was two years before that happened and several more years of wheelchairs and sticks until I got back on my own two feet again. It was very painful and very scary. And that was just for me.
She left her career to look after me. No quibble. No second thoughts. Just dropped it and came home to become a full-time carer. What neither of us knew about back then, is how full-time carers often become non-people as far as the rest of the world is concerned. So it wasn’t only me existing in a quiet cocoon while my old life sailed on without me. The same thing happened to her, too.
That part of our lives lasted about ten years, and it wasn’t fun. But she stuck with it. She’d be the first to tell you she isn’t a natural nurse, and that I’m certainly not a natural patient, but she stuck with me. And when we came out the other side, our love had been forged in fire. We’d been close before, but now we were a single unit.
Oh, I’m not going to pretend that we share some kind of hive mind. We’re two independent people and our ideas often differ. Sometimes loudly. But we’re strong together.
Which is why life became hell when she got sick last year. She was very ill for fifteen months. Still hasn’t recovered fully yet, but she’s on the mend now and it’s going to be okay. This time last year, though, we thought we were losing her.
I have never been so desolated, as the way I was when I considered what life would be like without her. At the time, she didn’t even know things were so bad. For the worst four months she was morphined up to the eyeballs and didn’t really know what was going on. But I knew, and I thought I was losing her.
It just hit me again now, remembering it.
You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Our love, already strong and flexible and sharp, has been forged in the fire again. Twice-tempered steel has nothing on us.
That’s the kind of love I’ve been contemplating recently, and it’s that kind of love I want to write about soon.
What Stace had to say on Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
Oooh, this is so exciting!
I know a few of you already know Bernita Harris, from around the wide wide internet, but if you don’t, here’s a little introduction.
Back when I first started blogging as December–well, actually, I found Miss Snark, and wanted to comment there, so needed to set up a Blogger blog, and that’s what I set it up as–I noticed this particular commenter there, this very smart and gentle and funny lady named Bernita. And then she started showing up on my blog, which was a surprise–a lovely one, of course, but a surprise nonetheless. (The fact that other people started showing up on my blog as well surprised me every time.) So of course I started reading her blog, and it was delightful and smart. This went on for a couple of years. Bernita was there to cheer my every success, and the success of everyone else in her wide circle of friends; people are simply drawn to Bernita.
Occasionally Bernita would post snippets from the book she was working on, a fun paranormal about a character named Lillie St. Claire. And I always thought they were great; snappy and fun, well-written, interesting…and I was right. bernita finally submitted the book to Carina Press, and they of course snapped it up, and now you can buy DARK AND DISORDERLY, a delightful book by a truly delightful lady. I urge you to do so.
So without further ado, here’s Bernita’s post (with occasional comment from me in brackets, just for laughs).
No Sex? What Do You Mean, No Sex?
Stacia, you blessed girl, thank you for having me here today.
A recent poll at Dear Author indicated that 30% or so of readers skim sex scenes. I don’t understand that. Once the basic plot has been established, I’ve been known to skim until I get to the sex scenes! I dearly want to know how the writer has used intimacy to explore and develop the relationship. I have nothing against sex scenes. Dear me, no. [Oh, sure, you say that. But I still feel betrayed--SK]
But. There is no explicit sex in Dark and Disorderly. I admit it. Erotic fail! Oh, there is body-to-body contact and nothing chaste about it either—like this:
“You warned me you were a danger, Leannan, and I think this is what you meant,” he said, and fitted his wicked mouth to my open one. His wicked tongue. Instant lust. I wanted to wrap my legs around him, lock my ankles and pull him tighter. Public place with people passing by be damned, indeed.
I despised myself for that impulse. I despised him for my impulse.
So I bit him.
And it’s not that Johnny doesn’t try to get lucky, more than once:
“Nathan didn’t like to kiss,” I mumbled. “He didn’t like face to face…” Why had I said that?
“Selfish, stupid bastard,” said Johnny, pressing my fist against his chest, moving my hand in slow circles against the sleek fabric of his sweater, then sliding my fingers slowly lower toward his belt. “I like it very much. I like to watch a woman’s face when I make love to her. Lillie, let me take you home.”
As you can see, I took Stacia’s “How To Be A Sex Writing Strumpet” course–and failed. (There’s something puzzling and contradictory about getting an “F” for that, though.) [I hardly think that's failure--SK]
However, Lillie has some quaint, old-fashioned attitudes and though she is strongly attracted to the big, ugly lunk of a psi-crime detective; in the scene above she’s known Johnny Thresher barely a week. A very confusing, busy, dangerous week at that, with a zombie bursting through the front door, a grave-robbing and a riot and so on. She suspects Johnny might be just looking for a casual lay; but at the same time she has the feeling he’s not the sort who thinks with his balls. And there is the additional problem of her husband rather recently and indecently dead and who doesn’t want to stay that way. A husband who, while not destroying her libido, obviously, fractured her sense of worth as a woman. Lillie is cautious because she had been impulsive before; she’d been taken in by smooth flattery once.
Even though sex and death, sex and danger, are irreversibly entwined in our psyches, hot ’n torrid, pick the horizontal/vertical surface of your choice, did not seem to fit with the characters or the plot at this time. Dark and Disorderly does not contain explicit sex. Violence, now, and ghosts and bodies and murder, that’s a different case altogether… [Sigh. I guess violence and ghosts and bodies and murder and grave-robbing work as substitutes.--SK]
Dark and Disorderly: The Adventures of Lillie St. Claire, a paranormal suspense by Bernita Harris, is available from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most places where ebooks are sold. The first chapter is a free download here. You can find me at An Innocent A-Blog, and I’m on Facebook, somewhere.
What Stace had to say on Monday, March 29th, 2010
When you have a ho like Jaye Wells in your stable, yo.
I’ve been friends with Jaye for a while, and she is awesome. But what’s even more awesome are her books. See, last year when we were moving and all of that stuff, I really needed something to read during the journey. I grabbed a few books to take with me–can’t remember which ones–during a last-minute trip to my local Waterstone’s.
But what did I see there but Jaye’s RED-HEADED STEPCHILD. And lucky for me I did, too. Like I said, I don’t remember the names of the other books I bought to take along, but I know that after struggling to get through the first three or four chapters of each, I finally gave up and grabbed R-HS. Aaaaaaah. It was like finally getting to take a shower after four days of heavy physical work and sweat. I felt cleansed and refreshed. Yes, it’s first person and we all know that’s not my favorite thing. But, as with all the best first-person POVs, I hardly noticed. I loved the book. Good, crisp writing, likable characters who said interesting things and thought interesting things, humor in just the right places that was not over-the-top or silly (but also not mean-spirited, contrived-sounding snark). I practically cried, I was so happy to finally be reading a well-written book again.
Aaaanyway. The sequel, THE MAGE IN BLACK, comes out tomorrow, and to celebrate, I’ve invited Jaye here to do a guest blog (Ann Aguirre will be here next week, as well, so be prepared). Let’s all be nice to her, shall we? Heh.
Read the rest of this entry »