Archive for 'buy the book!'

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, October 5th, 2016
Stuff, Things, and a Farewell to Ellora’s Cave

Well! I’d expected to be back here on the blog sooner, sorry–the girls went back to school, we all got sick, and I’m working my butt off. (Also, I’m allowing myself one hour three days a week to play through the Batman Arkham games on the PS3; I’ve finished Origins and am now halfway through Arkham City. I think City is a little more fun so far, but Origins has more fun things to do. Except for the Bird side mission, because that glitched for me and I never got to finish it grrr. I really wanted the damn “Disarm and Destroy” skill! Anyway.)

I have a couple of review for MADE FOR SIN that I didn’t blog before! First, a really lovely one from B&N:

Stacia Kane has a knack for writing damaged characters. …Kane draws her Vegas with all the casual depravity the city is infamous for, with aging Mafiosi, pick pockets, safe-crackers, fences, compromised cops, chorus girls, and thieves rounding out the cast…. I love Kane’s characters: they manifest a deep and riveting moral ambivalence, acted out in dark and magical worlds.

(It’s actually quite hard to pick an individual quote or two from that review, but the full thing is definitely worth a read.)

It’s About the Book has this to say:

If you like urban suspense with a twist, this book has it in spades. And while it might start off slow and gentle, it silently crawls under your skin and haunts your dreams. I know I’ll be thinking about it.

From All About Romance:

…the chemistry between Ardeth and Speare worked for me. They circle one another suspiciously, come to reluctant truces, and move from begrudging respect to sexually charged friendship in scenes that had me not wanting to put down my reader. This book has elements of romance to it, but it’s definitely more urban fantasy than traditional HEA romance and as with many an urban fantasy series, the ending of Made for Sin leaves things rather open-ended – and left this reader wanting to read the next book in the series right away.

And speaking of my books etc….

I imagine many of you have already heard about the closure of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

When I started writing seriously in 2005/2006, EC was the biggest name out there in erotic romance. Everyone wanted to be an EC author; it was a goal of mine, and I’ll never forget the day I got that acceptance email from them. I was thrilled.

I know a lot of authors did not have a great experience with/at EC. I’ve heard (a few of) their stories. I know many people felt honestly cheated and betrayed by them, and those stories, those feelings, are valid; their experience was their experience, and just because mine was different doesn’t mean theirs was or is untrue. It’s the nature of publishing, to some degree, that different writers can have wildly different experiences with the same publisher. While I honestly saw/heard nothing that led me to believe EC was being malicious or deliberately mistreating authors, again, that does NOT mean that A) it didn’t happen; and B) that those authors are wrong to feel that they were maliciously or deliberately mistreated. In other words, if there are authors out there telling stories about their ill treatment at the hands of EC, I believe them–I absolutely do–and I’m not at all saying they’re lying or exaggerating.

However. That was not my experience. Not at all, not remotely. My time at EC was–truly!–nothing but pleasurable, professional, and fun. One of the first “I loved your book!” emails I got for UNHOLY GHOSTS came from Raelene Gorlinsky, EC’s publisher, and that was very typical of the way I was always spoken to and treated by everyone at EC. I always felt valued. I always felt professionally treated and like I mattered. EC went out of its way (seriously, out of its way) more than once for me, and I was and am grateful for it. I stopped actively writing for EC because I’d moved in a new direction with my work and didn’t have the time (or the option clauses) that would allow it, but that is the only reason I stopped. I made good money at EC. I loved being, and was proud to be, one of their authors–I always will be proud to have been one of their authors.

Again, I’m not saying others didn’t have different experiences, or that their experiences didn’t or don’t matter or aren’t valid. For them this news is either a sigh of relief or a moment of bitter pleasure, and I understand that, and am happy for them. But for me, EC was a great place. It was a house I loved working with and writing for, and I’m genuinely very sad to see it close down. I wish all of my former EC associates, from writers to cover artists to layout designers to editors (my editor Brianna St. James was, IMO, the best editor at EC, and I adore her and adored working with her) to management the very, very best in future.

However, their closure does mean that the rights to all of my EC books revert to me. For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of getting them all together, re-editing them (mostly to remove stylistic quirks put in place due to EC’s rather specific house style, which I admit to never being a huge fan of), and releasing them all–except, of course, for the two I co-wrote with the always-awesome Anna J. Evans–in one big omnibus edition, for a couple of bucks. That would be:


DAY OF THE DEAD was a novella (which I loved; it was written as a Halloween story [if the title didn’t give that away] and has a big hot-sex-in-a-graveyard scene, heh), but the others are all full-length novels; BLACK DRAGON is my medieval romance, which isn’t erotic per se but still has explicit sex scenes in it, of course, and, in addition to being only the second book I ever wrote, was my attempt to write an old-school-type of romance (so the voice is a little different). I actually re-read BLACK DRAGON recently; I was trying to remember a specific thing in it, so opened up the file and began perusing, and ended up going back to re-read the whole thing start to finish. That was pretty fun–I’ve always had a real soft spot for that book and its characters anyway–and I was pleased to see that, despite the many things about it I would probably do/write differently now, a dozen years or so after I wrote it, I still think it was a pretty good book.

Anyway. The point is, I’ve been considering compiling all those together and releasing them myself, and this is an opportunity to do so. The only hesitation I have, really, is wondering if that’s even something you guys would be interested in. All of the books (except BLACK DRAGON) are paranormals, and BLOOD WILL TELL has lots of action in it (and not just in a that’s-what-she-said kind of way but genuine fighting and car chases and such), but they’re still romance, not UF. ACCUSTOMED TO HIS FANGS is a MY FAIR LADY spoof, even, which has what I still consider to be one of the funniest lines I’ve ever written (my vampire hero, who’s been in hibernation for a hundred years or so, is making toast; he muses to himself that sliced bread is “in his opinion, the greatest invention since the seed drill.” Yeah, maybe it doesn’t sound as funny written out here like that, but I giggled like a loon when I wrote it, and I still giggle at it now). Point is (again) the book is written as a comedy and is supposed to be at least amusing. So none of these books are what you would typically think of when you think of me/my work.

The other hesitation, of course, is if it’s worth doing simply because if you’re interested in my erotic romances, you’ve probably already read them.

So, what do you guys think? Is an omnibus like that something you’d be interested in? Something you’d pay three or four bucks for? Let me know. It wouldn’t take a long time to put together, really, so doing it wouldn’t take me away from any of the other projects I’m working on (aside from Downside [both Book 6 and the second Terrible-POV story], I’m finishing edits on a gothic that my agent and I are both excited about, and toying with an idea for a sort of episodic story, and working on a sexy early-twentysomething [is “New Adult” still a term?] paranormal adventure romance, and considering some options for the dystopian YA whose concept–and thus its chances–that show “Penny Dreadful” completely shat upon, sigh) so that’s not really a concern. It’s more just curiosity/uncertainty if it would sell enough copies to be worth the effort at all.

Soooo…that’s it for today, I guess. I have lots of other stuff to blog about in the coming weeks, but for the moment we’ll end it there.

Goodbye, EC, and thanks for the memories.

Note: Since I wrote this post, I learned some things that, having been away from the romance/erorom genre for seven years, and having deliberately distanced myself from online drama for the sake of my fucking sanity, I was not aware of. Please see my follow-up post here.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, March 5th, 2009
The Books are Out There!

Sigh. Sigh, sigh, sigh.

So, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and comments and discussions online relating to the idea that ALL urban fantasy has become samey and dull. That it’s all circling the were-vamp drain, full of designer labels, with the same worlds and characters and plot devices.

And it puts me in a little bit of an awkward position, in a way. Because I totally, totally, TOTALLY disagree, but saying so makes me feel a little…weird. Like I’m putting readers down–which I never, ever want to do, ever, because readers are awesome–or jumping up and down in front of them screaming, “But, ME!! And ME! Look at ME!!” Which I also do not really want to do.

But, um, look at me. :-)

No, no. I’m going to talk about my books a little bit, yes. But really I want to talk about other writers’ books. And I want to talk about how my opinion and image of urban fantasy is exactly the opposite: I believe the genre is about to make a huge, expansive leap, that the days of urban fantasy automatically equalling hot chicks in leather weilding guns and fucking vampires or weres are done with.

And here’s where it might sound like I’m scolding or yelling at readers, but that is not the case at ALL. Not one bit, never. But guys…the stuff is out there. The books are OUT THERE. They are. They’re coming. They’re in stores now. They’re in pre-release. They’re being signed by agents and they’re being bought by editors and they are in the works, and this genre is about to explode and I honestly believe that’s the case.

But you have to look for them, and you have to know where to look.

It’s not your fault, darling reader. It isn’t. You buy books based on a recommendation, or you see a cool-looking cover or read a review or whatever. And that’s the way it’s supposed to work. You don’t have time to play book detective and spend hours running around the internet looking for unfamiliar authors. And nobody expects you to, least of all me.

But here’s where I think the problem lies. You, as a reader, know what sorts of things you like, and I think in a way the system itself is geared to make sure you stay in your little reader box, if you know what I mean. Say you buy Caitlin Kittredge’s excellent Second Skin, which was just released and you totally should be buying immediately because we all know Caitlin is the awesomest. Anyway, you make this very sensible purchase. Say you make it from Amazon. Now, what does Amazon do? Amazon shows you more books about weres, because Amazon assumes you like books about weres.

This would be the case with any book you buy. But given that, yes, there are a lot of were & vamp books out there, and given that they sell well if they’re good (like Caitlin’s are)…it can seem as though that’s ALL that’s out there. Because it’s all you’re being shown.

I think the crossover between urban fantasy and paranormal romance is an issue as well. There are people out there who dislike UF because it doesn’t have that HEA (Happily Ever After, for the uninitiated) ending which is so necessary to genre romance. And you know, if genre romance is what you’re after then I totally understand that. You want a HEA ending. If that’s what you want it’s what you should get; it’s what you as a reader deserve. Why should you have to read something that isn’t what you want or are looking for? You shouldn’t.

But I can’t help thinking…maybe if you tried a non-HEA UF or two…you might find you don’t mind the missing HEA so much. You might be happy to wait for it, to get involved in a long and complex emotional relationship (not that genre romances don’t have complex emotional relationships, that’s not what I’m saying) that spans several books. Why not give it a try? Because if you’re looking for paranormal books outside the vamp/were area, UF has them in spades, and you might be surprised by the emotional depth of the stories.

And that goes for the fantasy fans who are unhappy that UF has too much emphasis on romance, that they are somehow a “girl’s genre” because the heroines have sex and look for love. Well, you know what? UFs have romance in them because whether you personally feel that way or not, the vast majority of people want romance in their lives. They want to find someone to share their lives with. They want to find love. Hell, they want to get laid. I’m always stunned when I see or hear people comment that they don’t like romance in books; to me it’s like saying you don’t want romance in life either (and by romance I simply mean love and passion, not flowers and soft music, neither of which I particularly like). These are basic human needs, people; why should UF heroines be any different? Most books, in any genre, have some sort of romantic subplot. What’s wrong with that?

And, why is it that books written by women are judged by the amount of romance or sex in them, but books by men aren’t? Harry Dresden’s looking for love; I don’t see anyone putting those books down. In fact, it sometimes seems as though UF written by men doesn’t even figure into the equation when people talk about samey UFs. The Dresden books are nothing like Mark Henry’s fantastic zombies; Mark del Franco’s Connor Grey books aren’t like Anton Strout’s Simon Canderous books; Charles de Lint isn’t John Levitt. And none of those books are like my UNHOLY GHOSTS, or Jackie Kessler’s HELL’S BELLES, or Richelle Mead’s SUCCUBUS BLUES. They’re just not. At all.

It just frustrates me a little, I admit, to see the genre I love so much reduced to “They’re all alike; they’re all just rich vampires who own nightclubs and sleep on designer sheets,” or whatever. While I don’t deny those books do exist, they’re not the only books that do. There are so many stories and world and characters out there, and so many more coming. When I personally feel like we’re on the cusp of something so much bigger. In June Caitlin’s STREET MAGIC comes out; a fantastic, fantastic urban fantasy about mages and magic and a hidden London. In May 2010 (yes, we get to me now) my UNHOLY GHOSTS will be released, and I’m sure you can all recite with me what the book is about: punk rock, greasers, ghosts, black magic, blood rituals, witchcraft, drug dealers, ghettos…and not a were or vamp in either of them. My cast is all-human, baby, with a few ghosts thrown in for spooky good measure. So is Caitlin’s. And don’t forget Richard Kadrey’s SANDMAN SLIM, or Kari Stewart’s A DEVIL IN THE DETAILS.

And I know there are more. Tons more that I’m just not thinking of at the moment.

Remember my “Heroes” series? The simple fact is, books about dull people doing nothing out of the ordinary don’t sell. They just don’t. Do you want to read a book wherein your neighbor sits around watching TV all day? Do you want to read a novel about a complicated tax question? No, probably not.

And I firmly believe there is not another genre out there where the characters are as unique and exciting, the world as intricate, and the stakes as high as urban fantasy. And I firmly believe that in the next year or so we’re going to see the fruits of all those books that came before; they way they fired our imaginations and made us think of possibilities. Sure, there will always be a place for vampires and weres, because there are readers to buy them. I love vampires.

But weres and vampires are not the only characters in UF. Not at all. You just have to look for others. Visit the League of Reluctant Adults. Check out the Fangs Fur & Fey community on livejournal. Visit the fantasy section at the bookstore if you usually just buy romances, or pick up an urban fantasy if you usually read only trad fantasy or science fiction, and vice versa. Branch out. Ask people. Ask booksellers. Tell them what you want, like, for example, that they should order twenty or thirty copies each of STREET MAGIC and UNHOLY GHOSTS for all of their stores, because you’re going to get all your friends to rush in and buy them the day they’re released.

The books are out there. They *are* out there. You just have to look for them.

What Stace had to say on Monday, January 19th, 2009
Cookbooks. And a recipe. And a few other things.

Yes, it’s a recipe! I know, I haven’t posted one of these in quite a while; I’m actually considering putting a page on my new website for them all, or would that be lame? What do you think?

Anyway. Most of the recipes I’ve posted have been my own inventions. This one isn’t. It’s taken from Nigella Lawson’s “How to Eat”, which is one of my absolute favorite cookbooks in the world ever. Certainly out of all the cookbooks I own, this one is my favorite that was written after about 1980.

Okay, I started to put this little rant in parentheses but decided it was too long to be parenthetical. I buy most of my cookbooks from used bookstores, or especially from antique/antiquarian bookstores, for one simple reason. Good recipes.

The thing is, most modern cookbooks aren’t written for people who enjoy cooking or who cook on a regular basis. They’re just not. They’re written–so it seems to me–for people who enjoy reading and eating more than cooking; for those who enjoy “food porn”; for those who cook once a week, an elaborate Saturday or Sunday lunch or brunch.

I like those books, I do. I own a few and love to look through them. But they are not practical at all. I am a stay-home Mom, as you guys know. I cook dinner for four people at least five nights a week (usually six, but we do have the occasional Leftovers Night, or fish & chips craving, or whatever, so I’m saying five even though it’s usually six or seven). When you cook dinner for four people, six nights a week, you do not have the time to spend on these ten-step recipes every night. Nor do you have the money for some of the ingredients in those books. Nor, especially, is there a snowball’s chance in Hell that your four- and seven-year-old daughters are going to even consider eating anything served on a bed of crispy-fried frissee lettuce, with capers, and bearnaise sauce, and whatever else. Seriously. I love those cookbooks. But I cannot actually cook from them; I do not have the money or the equipment or time, and I need to cook food that my children will actually eat.

Older cookbooks were written for housewives who had to cook for their families and their picky children. The recipes in them are less expensive. They use more common ingredients; no hunting around for passionfruit or beef marrow. No dirtying dozens of pots and pans. And that’s what I need.

I also feel that modern cookbooks are waaaay too full of salads and desserts. You know, I know how to make a salad, and I rarely make or eat dessert. I don’t need those recipes, I need main courses. Actual food. Not thirty different salads that are really all the same; it’s a freaking salad, you know?

And that’s one reason I love Nigella’s book. I love her, frankly. I love how the book reads more like a novel than a cookbook. (Funnily enough the few negative Amazon reviews are from people who don’t like this; they just want recipes and pictures.) It’s like a little wander through someone’s culinary life, and it’s a lot of fun. And while I admit some of the recipes don’t appeal to me, some of them do, and are delicious (although I do wish she would stop putting chiles in everything as I cannot take spicy food with my delicate stomach.)

Anyway. This is for gooey chocolate puddings. And they are fantastic. I made them New Year’s Eve. This is the kind of recipe I love because it looks really complex and sophisticated when you serve it; it’s like a little chocolate cake still all melty in the center. And I could never figure out how that works, and now I know.

Preheat oven to 400F; turn it on at least half an hour before you want to cook the puddings so it will be nice and evenly hot.

4 1/2 oz high quality chocolate, chopped. (4 1/2 oz is 125g; see what measurement the chocolate bar uses. I’d make sure the chocolate is at least 70% cocoa solids. Also, I used “Mayan dark” chocolate, with spices, do you know the kind I mean? It has a little cinnamon and stuff. It was really good, but plain choc would be fine.)

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter (I only had salted and it was fine, so I wouldn’t worry about that too much)

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

In a saucepan (or double-boiler, if you’re fancy) melt the butter and chocolate together slowly, stirring fairly often.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until just blended. It will be this weird sort of translucent yellowy goo. Slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture; set aside.

Butter four 1-cup ramekins (I used my special heart-shaped Le Creuset Xmas gift remekins! Oh joy! I felt *very* grown-up and special) and flour them. Pour the misture into the ramekins–mine were filled just over halfway–and set them on a baking sheet, in the middle of the oven, for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are firm and cracking slightly and the edges are set. I’d actually give them maybe a minute more; oven temps vary a little so keep an eye on them.

Serve immediately, with cream. I’m not usually a fan of simply pouring cream over things–I used single cream, which is like half-and-half I think, but you could use whipping cream too. It doesn’t need to be whipped (though you can, I didn’t), just pour some of it over after you’ve taken the first couple of bites.

The thing is, these are *very* gooey and *very* hot inside, and *very* chocolatey. So the cream is cool, and actually does provide a little relief from the strong chocolate flavor, so it adds a nice contrast. So I would definitely have the cream. I liked it much better with than without, and so did the hubs. Loooovely.

A few more things:

Friday night I was hanging out on Twitter, wishing AW was up (I’ve heard it’s back now but haven’t had time to go check yet), and I got into a fun little chat with Colleen Lindsay, who is probably one of the most–if not the most–successful new agents to, um, start agenting, in the past few years. She’s with Fine Print, an excellent agency, and is the living embodiment of my “A new agent at an established agency is a good bet” dictum. Anyway. I thought Colleen was a nice, friendly sort, until she practically throttled me and pushed my face in a muddy puddle until I agreed to allow her to set up a Facebook page for me. I gave in.

So now I have a Facebook page. Which some of you already know because I Friended you. If I didn’t friend you, it’s because I did not know you were there, so please don’t hesitate to friend me if you want.

I’m actually really enjoying Facebook so far. Much more adult than MySpace, which you all know I loathe. We’ll see if it becomes a major timesuck; so far I’ve been doing okay.

A terrifying thing happened Saturday night. No, really. Hubs went to his Mum’s on Friday to discuss some things with her. He came back Saturday; I picked him up at the train station at 7 pm. It was dark. It was pouring down rain. It was horrendously windy.

Unlike pretty much every other town in England, our train station is miles away. You have to take a separate highway to get to and from it. It’s a four-lane highway, two lanes on each side, with a metal dividing rail between, and it is a very hilly, very wind-y road with lots of twists and turns. No lights, of course. That would make it safer and we can’t have that.

So. We are headed Westbound, in the left-hand lane (which is the outside lane here, remember.) Toodly-doo, along we go, chatting, when we turn a corner, go about half a mile, and a car passes us going Eastbound.

Eastbound. In the Westbound lane. On a dark and windy night, on a twisty narrow road.

(Another fun feature of this road, as with so many roads in the Southwest, is there are no exits for miles. You get on, and you are not getting off for a while.)

So of course we take a second or two to wonder if we actually saw what we think we did. Another second or so to freak out because we could have all just been in a head-on collision at 70 mph. And we dial 999 to report it. We would have liked to have turned around and followed along with them (on the correct side of the road) blaring our horn or something to try and warn people, but again, it is impossible to exit or turn around anywhere on these roads. And that probably would not have been particularly safe either.

One really cool thing they do here is, if you call to report a crime or incident or whatever, they are legally required to update you on it. Which is a tremendous violation of privacy, but is still really cool. We arrived home, still freaking out, and waited.

Fifteen minutes later the phone rang. It was the police. There had been a massive car accident.

Luckily, she said no one was killed or even injured very seriously. And she said thanks to us they already had police etc. on the road, on the way, when the call came in. So we were at least able to help.

The driver was apparently very elderly.

Just awful. Very scary. And I believe it is entirely possible that had there been street lights the accident could have been prevented. Seriously, getting onto the highway here at night is like being in a submarine plunging into black water; the lights stop at the top of the exit ramps, and you’re on your own. It’s incredibly dangerous.

But the important thing is no one was killed.

See? I told you it was terrifying.

But on a brighter note…there’s an Inauguration tomorrow! I love Inaguration Day. I always watch them–I always love to watch them. I don’t care who’s being inagurated, I just watch and take pride in the whole system. That we elect a President. That we swear that President in with great ceremony and pride. That we are solemn and joyful at the same time. It’s fantastic. It makes me proud, and it usually makes me cry a little, and I just love it and I’m very excited. So who’s going to be watching with me? (Assuming I get to watch of course; I don’t know if CNN or Fox will be covering it, and those are the only news we have access to that might show the whole thing. So fingers crossed. I haven’t missed watching an Inauguration in…oh, gosh…since Reagan’s first, so this is a Big Deal to me.)