Archive for 'news'



What Stace had to say on Monday, June 9th, 2014
Updates, upgrades, and bad things

I’ve been neglecting you, and I’m sorry. I really am. Things have not been great here and I’ve fallen into some lazy habits and been working on a number of other things, and blogging (all social media, really) has fallen by the wayside. I feel awful about neglecting you all like that. But this will be a looong post, and I have something planned for the next week or two here that should be really, really fun, so…

First. Downside 6. You’ve been asking and I’ve been somewhat evasive. There’s been some behind-the-scenes stuff going on with it that I wasn’t/am not really at liberty to discuss. What I can say, with absolute certainty, is that there WILL be a number 6, that I am indeed working on it, that I’m quite excited about it and think it’s going to be great, and that as soon as I have some bits to put up here for you all I will. Look for them in the next month or two (the excerpts, I mean). I have #7 in the late planning stages, too.

I am also hard at work on the second Terrible novella (which will cover the events of UM and CoG), and a new short which will round out the collection of shorts that I’m hoping to get put together by the end of June. (To that end, btw, I have a question: has anyone had any experience with Jutoh? It’s an ebook formatting program. I’d like to try it, but $40 is rather a lot to spend for me, especially on something I’m not sure will work.) My plan–as I think I’ve stated before–is to take the already-published shorts to which I now have rights (that would be RICK THE BRAVE and HOME) then add KEEPING IT CLOSE and another new one.

Then there’s the New Stuff: a stand-alone contemp paranormal romance; a new UF series; and a new UF-type series which I’m going to do in serial form, which I’m really excited about and think will be a ton of fun. Oh, and a different thing I’ve had going for a while, which I am almost done editing.

All of this is being done on the Toshiba Satellite I bought back at the end of March, after being essentially computer-less for over a month. Astute readers may notice that I am now using a Windows machine rather than a Mac. Here’s why (and settle in, because this is long):

On the 15th of February, I–like a dumbass–knocked my Macbook off the kitchen table. Well, technically I didn’t knock it off, I just rested it precariously on something else that was on the table, and it fell to the floor. The hard, linoleum-covered-cement floor. Sigh. Aside from the cracked case and loose screen bezel, I ended up with what’s known as “the gray screen of death,” which basically means “your computer is fucked.”

So we made an appointment at the nearest Apple store, which is about an hour and a half away. They couldn’t fix it because they no longer fix 2007 machines, which is what mine was/is. They didn’t even open it up or anything. The Genius suggested a new hard drive, but gave us nothing in writing to say what kind, and I couldn’t call Apple customer service without paying for the call, which was quite frustrating. I asked about that online and got an email from someone in Apple’s Executive Relations; I’ll call her Lydia. Lydia was happy–sort of–to find out what kind of hard drive I’d need and where I could get one, but Lydia was not remotely interested in anything else, like the casing or screen or any other internal parts, or in telling me what to do should the new hard drive not fix the problem. Lydia also confirmed for me several times that the computer–which she could see on my account–was too old for Apple to fix, and that it was “not possible” for them to do that. Well, okay. I did suspect its age might be a problem, after all. She said she’d research the hard drive thing and get back to me; I said fine.

That’s where it all goes to hell.

We have home contents insurance. Very good home contents insurance, it turns out. The Hubs called them and discovered that, thanks to the awesomeness of them and their policy, they would replace the Macbook with a brand new one if it can’t be repaired to like-new condition. Not like-before-the-accident-my-dumbassery-caused; like brand-new. It doesn’t matter that I accidentally broke it; it’s a no-fault policy. Keep in mind, this is the reason people buy insurance: so that when they fuck up like morons and accidentally destroy valuable items, or a blameless accident happens and a valuable item is destroyed, said item can be replaced without financial hardship. That is the purpose of insurance. That is its entire reason for existence. It is why we all have it, right?

So I, giddy as a wee child at Christmas, contacted Lydia and told her that my insurance would replace the Macbook. She interrupted me and said, in the sort of tone she might use if I’d just informed her that I was mailing her a sack of roaches as a present, “YOUR insurance?”

Well, yeah, I said, and quickly explained the whole no-fault-like-new thing and how all I’d need from her was confirmation that the Macbook in question belonged to me, and–

She interrupted me (again; she interrupted me a lot, from the very beginning) to tell me she was not going to do that. When I asked why, she told me it was because of the Data Protection Act. I’m no expert on the Act, but I’m pretty sure that me personally requesting information Apple has on my account is in fact a request that the Data Protection Act legally requires Apple to fulfill. And even if it is not, I was giving my express permission for Apple to share this data with me–for me to pass to my insurer–to confirm my ownership. I honestly can see no reason why Apple couldn’t do this, as it gives away zero confidential information about Apple as a company, and certainly it does not give out any personal information about anyone but myself, and even then it’s hardly the sort of information spies pass around in manila folders; it’s “Macbook serial number WXXXXXXX was registered to Stacia Kane in [month/year].” I have grocery store receipts with more confidential information than that.

So I was beginning to get a very sinking feeling. For whatever reason, Lydia didn’t seem at all pleased and delighted that I could get my Macbook replaced at no cost to me–and at no cost to Apple, either. Win-win, right? But if anything she sounded quite annoyed, rather suspicious, and generally as if she was tired of me wasting her time with my nonsense. “You’ll have to prove ownership yourself,” she told me.

Well, whatever. I could just screen-shot my Apple account, I figured, with the computer listed right there. So I moved on, and told her that what I really needed was written confirmation from Apple that the computer could not be fixed by them. There was a pause, and then she said something about needing to research that and she’d call me the next day. Now I really had a sinking feeling. But hey, she was probably just being cautious or needed to check with a supervisor or something. I told her I’d send her an email with exactly what I needed, so she would have it there in writing, and we terminated the call.

I wrote and sent her the email. It reiterated my request for Apple to confirm the registration of that Macbook to my Apple account/confirm my date of purchase. (I note that in my understanding, putting this request was in writing meant that under the terms of the Data Protection Act it constituted a formal, legal SAR request that this information be provided to me.) I mentioned the Act and stated that I hereby gave permission for her to share that bit of information. But I reiterated that the proof of ownership was not the main part of my request. What I needed was for Apple to simply confirm in writing what they’d already told me more than once: that they could not repair the damage to my Macbook.

It wasn’t about the hard drive alone; our policy covers the entire machine, every curve of plastic, every part, every tiny screw, everything. If any part of it cannot be repaired or replaced to like-new condition, the entire machine qualifies for a brand-new replacement. I explained this to Lydia in the email, because I thought having it in writing might be helpful for her (I also offered to send her pictures of the damage if she wanted to confirm it all herself). I assured her–because she sounded so doubtful and suspicious on the phone–that this was a perfectly straightforward and legitimate insurance claim (I repeated the “no-fault” terms of the policy again as well, in hopes of reassuring her, although I didn’t particularly enjoy feeling like I needed to reassure her that I was not committing fraud) and that we were not asking for her to make any false statements or anything of that nature at all, simply to confirm in writing exactly what she’d already confirmed verbally more than once. No more, no less. I even wrote out a very brief statement for her–which didn’t specify the damage or anything, just that they no longer have the parts or ability to repair 2007 Macbooks–which she could just copy and paste, and pointed out that she could see herself that it was a true and accurate account of what both she and the Genius had told us (which it was). I told her I’d be happy to give her the email address or fax number or whatever of our insurer, if she felt more comfortable sending it directly to them (again, I didn’t like feeling as if I was trying to convince someone that I wasn’t committing fraud, but I was trying my best to be understanding).

And I sent it off, confident that I would soon have a reply from her with the information. Again, why would she not give it to me? Apple had indeed stated more than once that my Macbook could not be repaired, and what company refuses to provide confirmation that an item can or cannot be replaced? What company would refuse to provide a statement of same for a customer’s insurance claim–a claim which has absolutely nothing to do with said company beyond confirming the damage to the item, and does not hold them liable for anything or require them to do anything other than sit back and wait to accept payment for the new item? I could walk into any PC World store with a Windows machine in a similar state, and their service department would write such a statement for me without blinking; surely some random PC World didn’t provide better customer service than Apple. That wasn’t possible.

But it turns out it was. Lydia called me the next day to inform me that no, Apple would absolutely not confirm that my Macbook is registered to me, because of something about the Data Protection Act which I frankly could not follow since she was speaking at a breakneck speed, so couldn’t refute, but oh well. I said, “Okay, so–” and she once again interrupted me to say that Apple also would not confirm that they could not repair my Macbook.

I asked her why, since she’d been able to state that to me several times over the phone and the Genius had stated it in person, she could not put it in writing? Because it’s not Apple’s policy, apparently. It’s not Apple’s policy to provide a written record of their verbal repair estimations or evaluations? It’s not Apple’s policy to back up what they’ve said? It’s not Apple’s policy to help their customers?

Thinking that perhaps she was hinting, or could assist me in another version of my request, I asked her if I could get such a statement from an Apple Genius if I made the trek back to the Apple store. That was up to the individual Genius, she said; they had no obligation to provide any sort of statement or evaluation of damage or estimate. I could try my luck, basically. She made no offer to contact the nearest Apple store and explain my situation or request that they provide assistance to me.

At this point I was fuming. Apple would not repair my Macbook–they flat-out refused–but also would not state that they won’t repair it so I can get a new one from my insurance, because POLICY. What kind of service is that?

I said that what she was basically telling me, then, was that Apple did not care to keep me as a customer or to sell me a new Macbook. She said no, she wouldn’t say that. I said that actually, yes, that was exactly what she was saying, because what this all boiled down to was Apple’s policy being “If you want a new Macbook, you can pay for it yourself; only peons and Poors need insurance.”

I was in tears at that point. I absolutely could not believe that the company I had so much faith in was so coldly refusing to help me in any way, when all I was asking was for them to confirm their verbal statements in writing. That is not, I don’t think, an unreasonable request. It’s one other manufacturers, retailers, and service providers fulfill every minute of every day. I asked why she could not just send me a quick email confirming what she’d told me and she said she could not do that because she is PHONE support (I thought Executive Relations was supposed to be above phone support, with abilities and powers beyond what they have?). I asked who I needed to speak to, then, who were the representatives or people who could write things down (which was honestly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever had to say to a Customer Service rep), and she said nobody would be able to do this for me. Apparently no one at Apple is allowed to email anything to anyone or write anything at all down, ever. She told me she could send me the link to the page on the Apple site where it says they no longer make parts for or service the 2007 Macbook. I informed her that I can find a link myself, and that if a webpage was likely to be enough to satisfy my insurer I wouldn’t have asked her for a written statement to begin with. And also, that meant that while Apple will happily state publicly and openly online that they wouldn’t fix my Macbook, they absolutely would not take the five seconds to write that down separately for me.

So I asked to speak to someone else; she refused. I told her I wanted to speak to her supervisor or someone above her; she told me no one was above her and that this was “Apple’s final statement,” and this was the end of the matter. So Apple’s final statement, then, was “Sucks to be you!”

I called Apple’s main service line again the next day, thinking that perhaps Lydia just didn’t understand or was misinformed. I was told that once a situation goes to Executive Relations no one else can touch it, and any issues I might have with my Executive Relations rep would be given to her again. So if I had a complaint about Lydia, I’d have to take it up with Lydia. Seems like the way things should work, right? Who better to deal with my complaint about Lydia than Lydia? She’d been so helpful already. What exactly was she going to do for me, aside from talk over and interrupt and make me feel like she’s thinking about all of the better and more important things she could be doing with her time, instead of listening to some spoiled American whine about how her computer is quite literally her livelihood, as if that’s Lydia’s problem or something?

So Lydia called me again, because of course my phone call was instantly reported to her, much in the manner of how a grade-school snitch reports another kid sticking out his tongue at them. She was very displeased with me at that point, which made sense because I wasn’t exactly thrilled with her. I asked again if there was any way to get the four fucking sentences I needed written down, if a Genius could do it, an Apple store manager, an Apple-licensed repair shop. She told me–very hotly–that NO ONE, absolutely no one at any Apple-affiliated place anywhere, would EVER write that down for me. NO ONE EVER.

So I asked her, then, if there was anything else Apple was willing to do for me, to show me that they actually gave a shit about my business and wanted me to spend my money on a new Macbook. Anything at all. Now, I didn’t start the whole mess expecting to be offered anything; I started it knowing that the damage to my laptop was all my fault and that the laptop was old, and all I was hoping for was an estimate for repairs. But it seemed to me (and still does) that when a company is refusing a customer request as simple and basic as “Write down what you told me, please,” and they know that said refusal is causing that customer serious difficulty, and they know the customer is very seriously considering giving up on their company altogether (I told Lydia several times that this was really making me rethink dealing with the company at all), I’d think they’d consider some way of making up for the loss. Certainly in the 6+ years or so I spent working as a customer service rep (mostly in banking, for one of the world’s largest credit card banks), that was standard practice. You can’t help them, they’re upset, you try to do something to make them happy. It’s pretty basic. I did stuff like that every day, as did all of my co-workers.

I literally begged her to give me a reason, any reason, why I should buy a new Macbook instead of a Windows machine. Any reason at all; was there honestly nothing she could do for me? Ten percent off AppleCare, a fucking $5 iTunes credit? I hear stories all the time about Apple going above and beyond, and there I was just asking for some confirmation that my business matters. No, she said. There is nothing Apple will do for me (I believe her exact words, said in a tone of surprised disdain, were, “We’re not going to do anything for you,” actually). She wouldn’t even say the words, “Your business matters; you are important to Apple,” when I asked her she could even tell me that.

The next week, the hubs went back to the Apple store. The manager was happy to give him a work estimate/order thingie that said “We cannot repair this Macbook.” Shockingly, this happened even though Lydia had informed me with such confidence that NO ONE EVER ANYWHERE at Apple would EVER do this for me.

And about a week after that we got a check from our insurance company, and I decided that given how very, very little of a fuck Apple gave about its customers and how it was willing to do absolutely nothing–beyond feeding me misinformation and making an already upsetting and difficult process even harder–to help me, and how if I ever had another problem with a new Macbook the odds were extremely high that Apple would once again tell me to go fuck myself, I was not going to buy a new Macbook. Especially not since I would have had to provide the deductible myself, and money is so extremely tight for us. I was not about to struggle to scrounge up that cash on something when if there was ever a problem I’d be left in the lurch, especially since there was no way we could scrape together enough to pay for AppleCare, too.

So I used it to get a Toshiba Satellite, and pay for data recovery/installation (from the Mac’s hard drive) and warranty and data back-up, and for Word. (Which we had trouble installing; funnily enough, the Microsoft rep we called was friendly and awesome and spent a good half-hour with us getting it all set up.)

It’s okay. It’s not a bad computer. It’s not like the little Mac I loved. It’s less convenient and I still loathe several things about Windows machines in general. I’m not crazy about Windows 8. I set it to open directly to the background screen instead of that awful Windows 8 menu thingy with all the blocks.

I lost all of my cool installed fonts and all of the cool fonts that came with Word for Mac. I lost all of my bookmarked sites, going back almost five years–tons of research and recipes. I lost a bunch of music. I lost a few programs I used all the time and I lost several capabilities I liked a lot, and I don’t like Chrome for Windows as much as I liked Chrome for Mac, which was awesome. None of that is good; it’s very depressing, in fact. But at least I didn’t lose any documents or any pictures of my little ones, which was/is what really matters–along with knowing that if I have a problem I won’t have a customer service rep who seems to think I’m trying to defraud everyone tell me that’s just too damn bad.

So there you go. That’s part of the reason, at least, why I’m behind on things. And I know I have several other things to tell you about, but this is very long already so I will end it there.

Again, though…I’ll be back again in the next few days, and I have something that will hopefully provide us all some fun and amusement coming up this week or next. Something from the vault, to show you all.

I miss you all terribly, and hope you forgive me for being so absent.

What Stace had to say on Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Goodness!

Oh, do I feel guilty. I cannot believe I’ve been away for so long. I’m so sorry, guys!

I’m fine. I’ve been fine (I had a cold recently, but aside from that). I’ve just been tremendously busy: new Downside stuff, three new other projects, some non-work things…a whole bunch of stuff. Plus a couple of Internet Vacations, and more than a couple of research holes I fell down.

A few snapshot moments from my Lost Weekend:

Lou Reed died. I remember buying my first Velvet Underground album when I was seventeen (a compilation album, to be honest). Actually it was a cassette tape, which I played until it broke. Then I spliced it with Scotch tape and played it some more. It was a pretty miserable period in my life, for a number of reasons, and that album–I branched out at some point and picked up the individual albums–did a lot for me. I’m not really a huge fan of Reed’s solo work (with a few exceptions), but for twenty+ years now VU has been on my homemade mix tapes (remember those?) and then my iPod. I was actually surprised by how intense my reaction to this news was. It’s hard to express what that music meant to me and still does mean to me, and I frankly sound like a pretentious dork when I try to explain or quantify it. Suffice it to say I was pretty upset.

The other day we showed the girls JAWS for the first time. I so, so wish we’d had our phones out to video their response at the Big Jumpscare; you know the one I mean, when Hooper is underwater looking at the remains of Ben Gardner’s boat. They practically leapt out of their skins. Stephen and I, like all good parents, laughed very hard, which prompted an outraged “Why are you laughing at us?” from Princess. (Answer: because it’s HILARIOUS.)

We’ve been watching Justified, which is awesome. We’ve been watching The Sopranos, which is also awesome and I’m kind of ashamed to say I didn’t watch when it came out–not out of lack of interest, just lack of time. We’ve been watching A Young Doctor’s Notebook, which is very awesome, and I highly recommend it. We’ve been watching The Blacklist, which IMO is one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. And of course we’ve been watching Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, which would be a lot better without isn’t-she-great-look-how-adorable-she-is-don’t-you-love-her-no-seriously-you-must-love-her-it’s-clear-we-expect-you-to-love-her-damnit Skye.

Also saw the new Thor movie, which we enjoyed quite a bit.

I’ve perfected my bread recipe.

My Faerie’s school choir, of which she is a member, participated in a performance of Noye’s Fludde at Exeter Cathedral in October. I’ve never been a fan of the Noah’s Ark story; I get that the whole animals-two-by-two thing is supposed to be charming (or something) and little kids like that and there are lots of kiddie toys featuring the ark and the animals, but I always found it pretty disturbing, to be frank. But of course, this particular show, while still having the creep factor, also had the world’s most adorable duck marching onto the ark in her pink jammies, which made a huge difference in my enjoyment levels.

I’ve been forced to “upgrade” my iPhone’s OS to that new one that sucks. My favorite part of it, aside from it being ugly, and the YouTube app which is practically unusable, and the loss of Google Maps, is the fact that my audiobooks no longer have chapter listings. That makes it lots of fun to try to hunt for a particular scene or bit of information, especially when driving or cooking with stuff all over my hands. Why just hit a chapter number and go right to it when I can attempt to scroll around a five-hour block to find it? It’s like an adventure, right there on my phone. Whee!

So you can see it’s been pretty busy here, aside from the new projects and general other life things happening.

Even then, though… I had something planned, which I didn’t finish in time. So I’ve come up with a compromise, sort of, which I hope you guys will like.

See, it’s been my plan for a while to compile the two existing previously published Downside shorts (HOME, available from Heroes & Heartbreakers, and RICK THE BRAVE from the HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDITION anthology) which I now have the right to re-release on my own, add a new previously unreleased short, and release the three stories as an ebook for the holidays–actually, I’d hoped for a November release. I have the new short, but I totally didn’t get it done soon enough to do all the formatting and cover-art-commissioning and all of that stuff.

This makes me feel Bad.

I think I’ve come up with a solution. A hopefully-fun solution, which will also be a bit of an experiment, so we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s my plan (I am open to and interested in feedback; contact me privately if you wish, using the Contact form here on the site):

I’m going to post this story here, on the blog, starting later this week. And I’m going to set up a Paypal button where, if you feel the story is worth paying for, you can pay whatever you wish to pay for it. But the story is here anyway; I’ll be honest and say I hope you will, but there’s no obligation. And then, after the new year (probably) I’ll get it all formatted and everything, with a cover and all that fancy stuff (I’m hoping pay-what-you-want will at least cover some of the costs there, but if not oh well), and offer it for download here on the site (in all the regular ebook formats).

Then, since I have another short, I’ll package it, plus HOME and RICK THE BRAVE, plus the new unpublished short, all together, and that one will go up on the retail outlets and such and all for a low price (or, if pay-what-you-want is a success, maybe I’ll do that the same way. We’ll see).

I’m also hoping/planning to have the second Terrible POV novella up by late spring. Sales of WRONG WAYS DOWN surpassed my expectations, which was/is pretty awesome, and thank you all so much for that! So since you all seem to enjoy reading from his POV, and since you all seem to want to read his side of the story of UNHOLY MAGIC and CITY OF GHOSTS, that will be the next Terrible story. (Also, I do have the winner[s] in the WRONG WAYS DOWN contest, and will be announcing them next week when the short story wraps up. I honestly thought I had posted those.)

Speaking of retail outlets, btw, Amazon has pulled DEMON’S TRIAD, the X-rated novel I co-wrote with Anna J. Evans for Ellora’s Cave back in 2009, because of the extreme content. They offered us the chance to edit out that content, and we have refused–to do so would have required some story changes we feel would hurt the book, frankly, in a number of ways. So if you’re looking for DEMON’S TRIAD, try EC’s site or whatever other retailers you buy your books from.

So…to sum up:

I’ve been busy but that’s no excuse, and I’m sorry for my absence;

There’ll be a new Downside short here this week & next week that I hope you’ll enjoy and think is worth something;

I have missed you all;

I’ve got a lot of new stuff coming out in the next few months.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
WRONG WAYS DOWN Cover!

Here it is!

I am so excited about this.

This cover is a commissioned painting by artist Alessandra Kelley. (Sometime soon I’m planning to have Alessandra here to discuss the process and how the image went from concept to final cover). Seriously, guys, she drew this. And painted it. By hand. From scratch, as it were. Isn’t that amazing?

The font is called “Dirty Ego” and was designed by Eduardo Recife at Misprinted Type.

Now that this is all done, I’m hoping to have a release date to announce SOON.

And yes, I’m including another excerpt!

It’s all after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Monday, July 11th, 2011
News!

Ah, it’s a fine bright Monday morning, just the type of day to announce some exciting news.

First, I’m going to be in French! Well, not me personally, of course. Megan Chase. French publisher J’ai Lu has bought translation/publication rights to PERSONAL DEMONS, DEMON INSIDE, and DEMON POSSESSED! I don’t have any news on release dates or anything, of course, as I’ve only just signed the contracts, but I’m still extremely excited. Yet another step on my road to Global Domination.

Also, I can now dream of entering a French bookshop and having the clerks know who I am and invite me to an impromptu party in my honor, which I will totally schedule for the night the hubs has important plans, too, thus blowing him off, but then at the last minute I can blow off my French readers without bothering to even pick up a phone or anything. And maybe later I can find the restaurant my party was at and there will be copies of PERSONAL DEMONS (or whatever they’ll call it in French) lying around with wine stains all over them. Ahh, what a glorious fantasy.

Aaaand…Remember HOME, the short story I wrote for THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE? I pulled it from the anthology back in March. And when I did I promised the story would definitely see publication somewhere, even if it was just here on my website.

Well. It won’t be. I’m very pleased to let everyone know that HOME will be published as an estory original on the Heroes and Heartbreakers website run by Tor/Macmillan. I of course don’t have a release date or anything like that yet, but I’ll definitely keep you all updated.

Heroes and Heartbreakers is a really cool site, for those of you who haven’t checked it out before. It’s mainly a romance site, and it’s got a great, active community and lots of cool stuff. I love their take on genre fiction, actually, and they’ve been extremely kind and enthusiastic about the Downside books in particular, so I’m even more excited to be working with them.

I believe I mentioned before that HOME is definitely a romance story, which was a bit weird since it’s a Downside story. I like it quite a bit, of course, but it felt odd writing a story where everyone was basically happy in the end. That’s a pretty rare occurrence for these characters, heh, so I hope everyone enjoys it. You’ll be able to read it free if you’ve registered on the site, and/or it will be available at all the major ebook retailers etc. if you’re not. But you really should register, since it’s a cool site.

So, more info on that as we go along. But HOME has found a home (ha! See what I did there?) and I’m really glad.

Speaking of Downside stuff to read online…you may remember a while ago where I mentioned some friends of mine have set up a girl-geek-focused website called Stellar Four? It’s a really, really awesome site, and they do some great stories.

Anyway. This week they’re doing an Urban Fantasy Week, and they’ll be giving away a copy of my dear friend Stacey Jay’s DEAD ON THE DELTA, although of course you’ve all already bought it, right?

As part of their UF week, I’m going to be posting a new, never-before-seen excerpt from SACRIFICIAL MAGIC on Thursday or Friday (most likely Thursday). So you’ll definitely want to go check that out. Read the excerpt, browse the site, laugh at the awesome posts, leave comments, and enter the giveaway (I just might be persuaded to give something away myself, if enough people comment and all).

Tomorrow we’re heading out to visit some friends etc. in the Southwest, and then to the house where we’re renting for a bit in north Wales. So I may not be around as much this week (I know, again) but hopefully by the end of the week we’ll have all our internets and all set up, and things will calm down. Plus, I’ll be able to post pictures of north Wales, which is gorgeous.

Oh! And yesterday we went to the Willian Village Fair, and saw Morris dancers. It was quite something. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to view the video, but here’s the link just in case. (Warning: the sound starts right away, and it’s loud accordion/drum/bells/etc.)

I think that’s it for today! Oh, but don’t forget the L.A. Banks auction! Two days left to bid on the custom Downside shirt and mp3, and we’re at $51.50, which is totally exciting for me since I was afraid I’d only bring in a few bucks. So thank you all SO MUCH for bidding!! I am thrilled to see that my item is so far one of the biggest earners in the auction, and it’s all down to how fantastic and generous you all are. (And if you haven’t bid yet, well, you have two days to go.)

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
SACRIFICIAL MAGIC Release date

Lookie! I have an official, yes-this-is-it release date for SACRIFICIAL MAGIC.

March 27, 2012

So mark your calendars and all, everybody!

Also, my friend Stacey Jay’s book DEAD ON THE DELTA released yesterday, and you should all go buy it. Really. I read it and loved it; it’s set in New Orleans, and there are wicked little faeries spreading disease and lots of bayou grime and booze, and it’s so well-written and exciting.

Go visit Stacey’s site to learn more. Or just run to the bookstore and grab it. Seriously. I honestly believe that if you like my books you’ll like this one.

CRAZY busy. We leave next week. I’m almost done with Book 5 and really think it’s pretty damn cool so far; of course, a surprise happened which means I have to go back and rewrite a ton of stuff, but I’m excited about the surprise.

And here’s a short snippet from SACRIFICIAL MAGIC:

His room hadn’t changed. The house hadn’t changed. Only the looks given her by the various guards or enforcers or whoever they were had; from bland acceptance to subtle suspicion.

And she’d changed, it seemed. At least a bit. In the car chatting all had been well, but when the door closed behind her it occurred to her how long it had been since she’d been there. And what had happened last time she’d been there. Happened several times and again in the morning, if memory served, which it did.

Another awkward moment when she started walking toward the bed, remembered, and turned back to the couch against the wall. Lex already sat there, lighting a cigarette, flipping a switch behind him so The Jam started playing in the background. King of his little room-castle, just like how one day he’d be king of this side of town.

“So what’s up?” The question sounded lame even to her, but she couldn’t think of anything else to say. The bed with its plain blue blanket and sheets loomed larger and larger in her vision.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Happenings

1. As I think I mentioned before, we are moving this summer, back to the UK. The move itself is booked for June 10, or rather, we’re officially leaving June 10. We’ll be traveling for a short time before that.

I’m excited about it. A little apprehensive the way you are any time you move, but generally excited. And of course, ugh, all the work of moving; the packing, the planning what you can use up beforehand and what you can’t, blah blah blah, it all sucks.

2. Still working away. I’m really excited about this fifth book; there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in it, whee!

3. I’m planning a couple of really cool blog rants for the coming weeks.

4. Just officially confirming for anyone who pays attention to such things that as reported in Publisher’s Marketplace yesterday, my agent Chris Lotts is starting his own agency (The Lotts Agency), and will continue to represent me there.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
In Which News Explodes From Me

Okay, I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and WAITING to get to tell you guys this, because it makes me really happy and it was all done and agreed in, geez, June, I think? But there was this and that and blah blah blah and the ultimate outcome is that I finally have signed contracts and can finally tell you all that there will be three more Downside books coming from HarperVoyager for all you fantastic UK/IRE/AUS readers!

*collapses exhausted* It has been killing me not to say anything, especially when you guys ask (which you have).

So that’s what I’ve been doing today. Signing contracts and ordering gifts, and of course today my Faerie turned six and she is very excited about it and how it took her six whole years to get to this point.

I really am exhausted, actually. I just realized I’ve only been getting five hours of sleep or so a night for the last few weeks; I can handle that when I’m actively working because working is very, um, adrenalizing? It’s not really like doing speed at all, it just wakes me the fuck up, basically, so when I finally force myself to go to bed–which for the last couple of weeks has been edging ever closer to six am–I lie there awake in the dark (and luckily it is dark in the bedroom, although I also do own sleepshades which come in very handy sometimes) for a couple of hours trying to come down. And then I get up at–for the last few weeks–about one-thirty in the afternoon. So it would be enough sleep if I actually slept when I got into bed, which I didn’t, so there you go.

The point is that I’m very, very tired at the moment. But! I am also re-reading the enormous doorstop I just wrote and am actually kind of enjoying it; I think I have some ideas where to tighten it up and yeah, there will be a nice selection of deleted scenes for the website after this book comes out. (Which no, I do not have a date yet, sorry, I’ll tell you as soon as I do.) (Same with the title.)

So. News! There you go! More books!

What Stace had to say on Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Dog-paddling

Wow, this is late in the day to be posting.

Seriously, guys, I cannot recall ever being this busy in my life. I mean, in normal everyday life, not, like, the weeks before my children were born when suddenly the entire house needed to be scrubbed and redecorated, or the weeks before my wedding when the entire house needed to be scrubbed and redecorated and I had a houseful of guests and I needed to get manicures and hairdos and fittings and all of that stuff, or when we move. This is just my daily task-list growing longer and longer. (Oh, and before I forget, did you all see the UNHOLY MAGIC playlist on iTunes? You know I don’t get paid or anything when you purchase it, but the artists do; I just put them together in case anyone was curious about the music in the books and would like to hear it. This way you don’t have to hunt around and not know which songs are mentioned or whatever.)

I just finished a short story for an anthology; it’s a Downside story but because I didn’t want to give spoilers, and am well aware that most readers have never heard of me or my books, I wrote it from an outsider’s point of view, which was fun. You know what the most fun part of it was, though, which is really weird? Getting to actually describe Chess head to foot. You know, it’s hard to find ways to describe characters when you write from their POV; you don’t want to use hoary old tricks like them looking at themselves in the mirror, and really, just about any other sort of trick to describe your characters feel hoary.

MC: Oh, Friend #1, I hate my hair.

Friend #1: Nonsense. I wish I had long blond curls like yours.

Do you know what I mean? I don’t describe my characters too closely, I don’t think of them in terms of what actor they look like and would never describe them that way. I like to leave that up to you guys to fill in, really. Which makes me think of a fun contest! Which I may mention at the end of this post.

Anyway. So it was really fun to write a short where, because the MC of that story doesn’t know these people, he can actually take in the details of their appearances. They’re still not really facially described, but there’s a much more complete description, down to things like what Chess’s bag actually looks like. (I’ll share that one; it’s faded army-green canvas.) The story is tentatively titled Rick the Brave, but I’m still trying to come up with something better.

Now I have two other projects on my plate, one of which is another short for something else, and one of which is a new series-starter WIP which I’m extremely excited about. I’m not super far into it yet, but what I have I’m very happy with, which is a great feeling. It’s tentatively called Stone and Steam, but that will probably change.

I also have a to-do list which includes five interviews, which I really need to get to. And, I’ve got a couple of dozen emails and forum messages in my inbox from readers, relating to the Downside books, which I swear I will answer, my days have just been disappearing from me lately. But I do get those emails, I do read them, and I do appreciate them immensely. Nothing in this world is as amazing as getting an email from a reader who loved your work. (Well, okay. Sorry readers, but there are a few better moments, I have to admit. Holding your baby for the first time is pretty fucking amazing. But outside of stuff like that, reader email tops the list.)

BUT. That does bring me to a question most of the emails have been asking, and a ton of people on Twitter have been asking, as well as here on the blog. And I really wasn’t able to answer the question, although I’ve known the answer for, oh, three weeks or so now. Ready?

YES. There WILL be more Downside books!!

I don’t have any more details I can share as to number or dates or anything, although I think I can pretty safely say, considering it’s now July, that we’re talking about next year. We’re still working a lot of details out. But I’m extremely pleased and excited, and I hope you guys are too. Read the rest of this entry »