Archive for 'unholy magic'
What Stace had to say on Friday, July 16th, 2010
I have a few final thoughts on my little art and compromise series, but first I have a couple of new reviews for UNHOLY MAGIC I’d like to share.
Book Chick City calls it “one of the best books [she’s] ever read,” and says:
For me, Unholy Magic has the precise combination and balance of everything I love about the urban fantasy genre: action, romance, complex but likeable characters and world building. I adored this book so much from beginning to end – just perfect.
Smexy Books says:
Kane has written one of the most dark and disturbing Urban Fantasy’s I have read in a long time. This story drug me in, striped me bare, then rebuilt me page by page till the end. Enticing and addicting from page one…
5 out of 5 from The Fiction Vixen: In trying to come up with an adjective to describe the over all tone and feel of this story, I came up short. Gritty seems weak in reference to this book and just does not cover it. I had a brief twitter conversation about the Downside series and I eventually came up with this: Unholy Magic spits on gritty and calls its mother names. Yes, this book is that bad ass! Stacia Kane has written an amazing, spine tingling novel in Unholy Magic, taking me by surprise by surpassing even the brilliance of its predecessor Unholy Ghosts.
Last but certainly not least, we have Barnes & Noble’s Paul Goat Allen on the B&N Explorations blog, a man who’s been reading and reviewing fantasy for twenty years or so:
The bottom line is this – never before in paranormal fantasy have I read a series that features the combination of grand scale world building, labyrinthine storyline, superb character development, and social relevance. Stacia Kane’s Downside saga is taking paranormal fantasy to another level right before our eyes…
I challenge anyone who has never read a paranormal fantasy before to read this series – I’ll guarantee you that you never look at paranormal fantasy the same way again.
So, um, all of those are really nice to get.
But they do kind of have something to do with my art posts, honestly they do. Because yesterday the first post, But is it Art?was linked to on io9. Which was also pretty cool.
But I found the comments over there really interesting, in that so many of them seemed to automatically assume that you must compromise in order to get published, that it was necessary. That if you want to be published you have to expect you’ll be told to change things.
That hasn’t been my experience at all, frankly. While UNHOLY GHOSTS isn’t everything I’d envisioned it being when I started writing it, that’s my failure; I wasn’t asked to tone anything down or change anything fundamental about the story, characters, or world. Not one thing. Not in any of the Downside books, in fact. Not in any of the Demons books, either. Hell, DEMON INSIDE has a ritual cannibalism scene involving the hero of the series. Nobody asked me to take that out or tone it down or change it. Nobody has asked me to change or tone down anything I’ve written, frankly, with the sole exception of–as I’ve mentioned before–the incestuous rape scene in DEMON’S TRIAD, and that was perfectly understandable and perfectly okay with Anna and I; we’d inadvertently made it a bit sexier than it should have been and so needed to tone it down. That wasn’t a compromise. We weren’t asked to remove the rape, which was female-on-male. We were just asked not to make it titillating, and like I said, we were happy to do so.
That is honestly the only time in my entire career that I can think of where I was asked to change something in one of my books, and that’s not really a change at all. I’ve never had to give up on anything truly important to me. I honestly don’t know anyone who has.
Yes, saying that does sort of negate the whole point of the first post. And I think it’s important to remember that DEMON’S TRIAD was an X-rated ebook, sold with a warning; that scene very well may not have flown in NY, especially NY genre romance. UNHOLY GHOSTS and the Downside books are urban fantasies, which also give me a bit more leeway. As I said on Tuesday, if you want to write a cannibal love story (in mine, it was ritualistic and involved non-humans, remember) you may have problems. There are a lot of difficult subjects that you may indeed need to wait to write, until you have a bigger name or more solid standing.
But I also believe it comes down to the writing. I’d never sold to NY when I signed with my agent for UNHOLY GHOSTS, and the series was my first NY sale. I had no standing in the industry (not that I think I do now; I’m still nobody, really). But my agent and several editors felt my writing was strong enough, my story, characters, and worldbuilding compelling enough, that they didn’t care about the slightly difficult subject.
Which brings us full circle. Getting published isn’t about compromising. getting published is about writing. It’s about characters and story. Focus on those, and on being true to them and to yourself, and on giving your work that emotional depth and making it as strong as you possibly can. That’s how you get published, not by giving in or giving up or whatever.
Tomorrow I’m going to post the CITY OF GHOSTS playlist, I think, and a weekend SNeak Peek. I’m also thinking of a contest of some kind, to name a character in the fourth Downside book? Trying to think of a fun way to have people enter; I’m thinking of doing a Twitter contest using the #cityofghosts hashtag HarperVoyager already came up with. Thoughts? Anybody interested?
What Stace had to say on Thursday, July 8th, 2010
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 »
What Stace had to say on Monday, July 5th, 2010
Something *very* exciting happened on Saturday! I got up and popped on over to check my email–like I do–and had a message from a friend of mine in England, asking if I was aware that UNHOLY GHOSTS was in the Times. Uh…no. What times? The Times, as in the London Times? The real Times of London, not, like, the Sempford Peverell Times or the Clovery-Buttington Times or something.
No. It was the real Times, in London, the real national newspaper TIMES. They had a pullout section for summer reading, and UNHOLY GHOSTS was one of the six books their reviewer chose as their Summer Fantasy Picks!
So as you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about that.
Second, we have a couple of reviews for UNHOLY MAGIC, which, yes, will be released tomorrow*. From Abigail at ALL THINGS URBAN FANTASY:
Like any drug, the first taste gets your attention but its the second taste that gets you hooked. I though the first Downside Ghosts book, Unholy Ghosts, was an impressive debut, but UNHOLY MAGIC is even better. I am well and truly addicted to this dark, seductive urban fantasy series.
From Wicked Lil Pixie, FIVE stars:
Unholy Magic is book two in the Downside Ghosts series & without a doubt my favorite new series of 2010…I tried real hard to read Unholy Magic slowly, because the wait for City of Ghosts may be too much for me. I think I’m already going into withdrawals. Stacia Kane does not disappoint & crafts one of the most original new series of [the year].
*I’ve heard quite a few reports that the book is already on shelves, and have heard from quite a few readers who have already bought & finished the book. So it’s worth checking at your local bookstore today, if you don’t want to wait. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t care when you buy it as long as you do!
Also, yes, I will be excerpting the first three chapters of CITY OF GHOSTS, which will be out July 27 in the US (I believe the UK/AU release date is August 5[?]) here on the site, and will probably post those chapters next week, along with various excerpts here on the blog throughout the next few weeks.
And of course, since we have a release coming, we have an excerpt today. This is from Chapter Fifteen, as Chess investigates her latest Debunking case at the home of Roger Pyle, a television actor, and his wife Kym (I’ve truncated this excerpt a bit; the sequence is longer in the actual book):
Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Friday, June 18th, 2010
Since I was asked–mostly nicely–on Twitter this evening, I’m posting a new sneak peek for the weekend, along with the playlist for UNHOLY MAGIC.
Playlist is here. The songs are:
The Clash GARAGELAND
Johnny Cash FULSOM PRISON BLUES
The Pixies WAVE OF MUTILATION*
The Avengers WE ARE THE ONE
Motorhead ACE OF SPADES
Nine Pound Hammer DRUNK, TIRED, AND MEAN
The Replacements RAISED IN THE CITY
The Queers URSULA FINALLY HAS TITS
(* This was originally “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene,” by X. But because of the scene and setting, my editor was worried people might confused X-the-awesome-band with X-the-stupid-hippie-drug [I hadn’t listed a title for it, just X], and made me change it. So I’m going to use that later, hopefully.)
What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010
Lots of links and info today, so let’s get to the important stuff first.
UNHOLY MAGIC’s first three chapters are now up in PDF form, ready for you to download (and the first chapter has been added to the book’s page here on the site). You can visit the book’s page for that or click here to download the chapters: UNHOLY MAGIC excerpt (1436)
Tomorrow, June 3, I’ll be doing an interview and guest chat at All Things Urban Fantasy, and Del Rey is kicking in a copy of UNHOLY GHOSTS as a giveaway. I may add a little something to that myself, too. So be sure to come by and say hello!
Also, not too long ago I met this total freak* named Brigwyn on Twitter, who insisted** that I let him interview me for his “Brigwyn’s Corner” podcast show. I agreed (mostly because I feared for my life!***) and the result is now available to listen to here at Brigwyn’s Corner. (Note: the contest is now over.)
There’s another interview with me up at Falcata Times, which is a UK fantasy blog/magazine. Because we know you just can’t get enough me.
* really funny, awesome guy
** asked politely
*** because he’s totally cool, and we had so much fun chatting that we stayed on the phone for three more hours after the interview was done
Also, this has nothing to do with me, but you should go look at it anyway (oh, that sounded wrong, didn’t it? Well, I don’t care if you look at the me-related stuff, but you should look at this, because it’s good). I think most of us here know Michele Lee, who is also a writer and reviewer, and has been hanging out here since the beginning. Michele is a great person, and she’s written a great blog post on What They Don’t Tell You About Writing that is about the best summary of it I’ve ever seen. So I really recommend you take a look at it, and leave a comment and all of that stuff.
And speaking of writers and reviewers and all that, time to play some review roundup!
Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Saturday, May 29th, 2010
The first three chapters of UNHOLY MAGIC will be up on the book’s page by Monday, but until then I thought it would be fun to post a special sneak-peek excerpt.
Keep in mind that although the excerpt isn’t continuity-spoilery, it is a bit plot-spoilery, pretty much by definition. But I didn’t want to post something from the first three chapters, because then this wouldn’t be special, would it?
This is a Sneak Peek excerpt, so I will probably delete it first thing Tuesday morning. Enjoy!
Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Friday, May 28th, 2010
First, yesterday was the official release day for UNHOLY GHOSTS in Poland!
Witamy polskich czytelników! I z pewno?ci? nadziej?, ?e jeste? korzystaj?cych NIESWIETE DUCHY! Przykro mi, ale nie w j?zyku polskim, ale robi? mój najlepszy z t?umaczy online.
Nie wiem od daty dopuszczenia do NIESWIETE MAGIA (My?l?, ?e), ale mam nadziej?, wynika, USA / Wielka Brytania dat, które b?d? na pocz?tku lipca.
Jestem zachwycony które zostan? opublikowane w Polska!
O to strona ksi??ki na stronie Wydawnictwa Amber je?li chcesz je zobaczy?.
And I certainly hope that looks okay and I don’t get dinged by WordPress for all of the Polish letters.
Of course, I HAD a blog topic, and it was a good one, too, but I can’t for the life of me remember now what it was. I hate it when that happens. Oh! POV, that was it.
On Tuesday I went to a couple of bookstores in the area; three, actually. And I got to chatting at my local B&N with a bookseller I hadn’t met before about urban fantasy in general and POV in particular, because he shares my preference for third person POV, especially a tight, deep third. (Because most men love tight, deep things, you know. Ba-dum-bum. Oh, the hilarity never stops here!)
Anyway. We both felt the same way about first-person, which is that it’s distancing. And I know that sort of goes against the popular perception of it; I think most first fans–at least the ones I’ve spoken to–feel that it puts them closer to the action.
For me, reading a book written in first person doesn’t feel like I’m experiencing it. It feels like I’m sitting in a restaurant or something, listening to someone tell me a story that happened to them. Do you know what I mean? I feel a step further removed from the action, like I’m somewhere safe and I’m just being told a story.
Yesterday I saw a reader comment somewhere–can’t remember where–that they have a hard time truly feeling suspense with a first POV book, because obviously the narrator survived. I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but I don’t necessarily agree either; yes, we know they’re telling us the story, but for all we know they’re dead and telling us from the afterlife, right?
And of course it depends on the story and character and writer. I generally don’t like books written in present tense at all, and have sadly put down a few books I really, really wanted to read and love because I just couldn’t get past the present tense. But then there are books like Angela Huth’s WIVES OF THE FISHERMEN, which I absolutely adore, and which I honestly didn’t even realize was written in present tense until I was over halfway through it. Yes, it’s possible that this is in part due to the fact that the book contains a lot of flashback/memory scenes, which are in past tense, but it’s also because it’s just such a great book and so perfectly written.
Anyway. With a tight third I feel like I’m actually in the story, in the character’s head. I’m not being told a story, I’m seeing it. That’s why I like to read third best, and why I like to write third best. How about you?
And we have more reviews, of course!
The Book Lovers gives it 4.5 bookies:
The pace of the book was wonderful and the story gripped me ASAP and didn’t let me go till the last word. I loved how Ms. Kane shows us that looks are deceiving and we should never judge a person just with taking one glance at him or her. A highly recommended read not only for Urban Fantasy lovers, but for anyone who likes a good story.
There is also an interview & giveaway chat with me at Book Lovers, so go check that out as well if you’re so inclined.
Jessica at A GREAT Read says:
Finished Stacia Kane’s Unholy Ghosts today, her debut in her new series and it was seriously a wild ride! It was dark, gritty, edgy and enthralling from the first chapter!
This weekend I plan to get the PDF of the first three chapter of UNHOLY MAGIC up on the site; I’m doing some general site updates as well (or rather, the fabulous Frauke at Croco Designs is, and those should be completed soon; UNHOLY MAGIC will finally get its own page, with the back cover copy and everything, I’ll finally get my sidebar links updated (there are several things I was able to figure out how to do on my own here but the sidebar links seem to be in a separate file or something, I don’t know, but I need help, lol), we’re going to add some more fun stuff to, well, the Fun Stuff page, and maybe a few other things here and there.
Which is another question. What sorts of things would you guys like to see? The recipe downloads are pretty popular (now that they’re working, lol, because apparently they weren’t for a while), and I plan to add a few more, but of course there’s no cooking in the Downside books the way there is in the Demons books.
So what do you think is fun extra content? Or do you really not care?
Have a great weekend everyone; it’s a long weekend, isn’t it?
I may post an UNHOLY MAGIC excerpt here on the blog later…
What Stace had to say on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
First, I found out the other day that UNHOLY GHOSTS is a Reviewer Top Pick! in the June issue of Romantic Times magazine. The review says, in part:
Fans of urban fantasy will find themselves sleep deprived after they start this new series. It’s that hard to put down. Characters with larger-than-life personalities rule against a dark and dangerous backdrop. This is an exciting world you’ll want to escape into again and again. Don’t worry, the next will be out in July!
I also have some VERY IMPORTANT NEWS. Due to some seekrit behind-the-scenes-y bookstore-and-publisher stuff, the release date for UNHOLY MAGIC, the second Downside book, has been delayed by two weeks to JULY 6TH. (Unless something changes, this means you Australia/New Zealand folks will get the book one week before the US, Canada, and the UK/Ireland. Yay you, you get to be the first ones finally, how cool!) Anyway. I apologize to everyone but about the delay but I swear it’s for a good reason and we just might have some stuff here to at least make the waiting easier. So make sure you check back!
Also, I have the listing and blurb for the Polish edition, which will be released by Amber Publishing in, you guessed it, Poland. Check this out: Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Monday, December 7th, 2009
Yes, I do indeed have covers for all three Downside books, so here they are!
Read the rest of this entry »
What Stace had to say on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
Yes, I forgot to blog yesterday. I’m sorry! We will resume the series on Thursday but I have some really exciting news I wanted to share right away.
Some of you know that we’d originally hoped for the Downside books to be released consecutively; that is, one per month for three straight months. Scheduling issues prevented it, however, and eventually forced the reschedule of UNHOLY MAGIC as well. Pretty par for the course as far as publishing goes, really; schedules often change.
Well. I received word this morning that thanks to some clever switching and moving by the fantastic people at Del Rey, we are now able to release the first three Downside books as we’d always wanted; three consecutive releases! This is really, really exciting for me; such releases are always exciting, I think, and I’m really thrilled to get one and have such a big deal made over my books.
However. There is a *slight* downside (heh heh) to this for you guys, and for me as well. The three consecutive slots which were available are in summer 2010.
I know this is disappointing for those of you who were really excited and eager to get your hands on UNHOLY GHOSTS, and I’m really sorry about that. But…UNHOLY MAGIC was slated for June 2010, and CITY OF GHOSTS for November 2010, so while this means you have to wait for the first book, it also means you won’t have to wait nearly as long for the second and third!
So I hope you guys are excited about that, and as excited as I am to have the Big Summer Releases.
I don’t have any information yet on how this effects the UK releases from Harper Voyager, but I will let you know as soon as I do.
And I have some other exciting news about the books, but I think that will wait until next week.