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Showing posts from 2009

Post-holiday sale!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your families, or at least you resisted the urge to strangle your families. If not, please let us know how to raise your bail.

In the meantime, the holiday sales are spectacular this year, and who are we to be any different? From now through Jan. 3, LiteraryUnderworld.com is offering FREE SHIPPING* on all orders! If you got a grand-opening code as well, you could really score some great books to offset those argyle socks you got from your aunt. Use the code HANUKWANYULEMAS to get your free shipping.

Drop by LiteraryUnderworld.com and pick yourself up something good! And a happy new year to you all.


* Offer good only in the U.S. Minimum $10 purchase required.

Christmas Magic

My son is right on the verge about Santa Claus. His faith has been severely shaken this year, because people tend to forget that despite his ridiculous height, he's only ten years old.

I think he likes the idea of Santa and doesn't want to give it up, given his fondness for magic and mystery in the things he likes to read. When he asks me, I tell him the same thing for Santa as for the Tooth Fairy and ghosts and fairies and things that go chomp in the night: Just because I haven't seen something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Grammatically incorrect, but true. I've never seen a ghost, but plenty of people I know say they have, and who am I to tell them they're wrong?

Last night as we drove home from the movies, he wanted to talk about Santa again. I told him that we put too much emphasis on the particulars of magic, and we leave aside the power of faith. I got a big "huh?" and so I tried again.

I believe in magic. I believe in the power of things un…

Help out a twit and her long-suffering friend!

Okay, I'm an idiot. My poor friend Sarah has already once extended my time for the Creative Memories online "party" I intended to hold. She is long-suffering and patient.

So! Do you like scrapbooking? Sarah is a Creative Memories consultant, and I used to be a regular consumer of said stuff. I am about five years behind - wow, that corresponds almost exactly with the point where my writing career took off. Funny. Anyway, CM stuff is the highest quality and it is designed not to rot your pictures like those magnetic albums we all thought were so great in the 1990s.

Like scrapbooks but lack the patience/time? They have template albums, predesigned pages, etc. Not interested in albums but looking for a creative way to display photos? Click on "Inspired Surroundings" for framed displays that would make a personal gift or memento.

Also, they now have an extended digital component. You can assemble your digital photos into scrapbooks online and they print them for you. …

smoooke geeeets iiiiin myyyy eeeeeeeyes

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I can blame the fire if I want to.

Today was the Illinois-Missouri Author Fair, as organized by the marvelous Cheryl Eichar Jett. She coordinated with the Metro South Arts Council to get us a mall space on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to hawk our books.

First of all, I love the concept behind this mall. Crestwood Court in St. Louis is one of those mid-city malls unfortunately not located directly on an interstate, and Americans are too lazy to drive anywhere more than fifty feet from a highway, so it died. Most of its anchor stores are gone, along with nearly all the little stores that keep a mall alive (Aeropostale? Foot Locker? Things Remembered? People still go to these stores?).

The food court is on a lower level reminiscent of the bowels of Mordor, with only a solitary Subway surviving. We had a running gag about Subway; resist the Subway! Find other sustenance! But they took us for a few sandwiches anyway.

Some mad genius began converting the mall into indie art space. (Parade …

Black Friday!

And we'd really like to be in the black. :)

Go shop at The Literary Underworld and use the code "welcome1" to get a discount on your first order. I'd just like to point out that THE COLD ONES makes a heckuva gift at six bucks.

Also, we've fixed the glitch with shipping costs. If you have any problems, please let me know ASAP.

Guest of Dishonorable Intentions

We have returned from Contraception Kansas City, and just save all the cracks because I've heard them all. It was a lovely time, and I enjoyed getting to meet new people. Sales were pretty good for a small show, though I seriously overplanned the coffee - I've never seen a crew drink so little coffee as this one! On the other hand, the leftovers will be very tasty for the next, um, three months.

We sold out of our room, an arrangement I find I like more and more as time goes on. It's like running a low-key room party for 48 hours straight. I did bad tarot readings to amuse passers-by and sang to myself when I was alone, which wasn't often. I talked shop with some pros, watched Selina Rosen do an Elvis act (must be seen to be believed), and enjoyed the hell out of the Vegas theme.

Apparently one of the traditions for this show is to decorate your door, and so I threw together a sort of Vegas-crime scene thing, with a glittery door curtain, crime-scene tape, creepy fabri…

signings and stuff

Just got home from a really nice signing at Afterwords Books in Edwardsville. It was such a pleasant time, I think it's rehabilitated me on bookstore signings.

Big-box booksignings are a real crapshoot. Much of the time, I'd find out they hadn't told anyone I was coming, there was no sign or display to drum up interest, and they sat me at a card table by the entrance so people would most easily avoid me.

Seriously, an author at a table in a bookstore is no better than the perfume salesgirl in Macy's at Christmas. They avert their eyes so quickly you'd think they'd get whiplash, unless they need directions to the bathrooms. You can try to engage them in conversation, you can bribe them (I used a bowl of chocolates) but it's still a crapshoot. A lot of the time you just end up sitting there like an idiot for two hours, trying to make eye contact and feeling like an asshole.

There are exceptions, of course. The last signing on the NOCTURNE tour was at a Borders r…

Sanctuary Day Zillion and Three

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Yesterday's word count:




Overall this month:



And the book to date:




And not even half done. I keep moving the total wordcount higher. That is bad. I was just mocking a fellow author last night because the box of his books in our inventory is damn heavy. "Omit needless words!" I scolded him.

The language edit next round will be brutal.

Last night I got to play with maybe my favorite scene in anything I've ever written. It's a sparring scene, where Torrance, Reyes and Crawford fight each other in various combinations. I love it for so many reasons.

I love the way Torrance and Reyes snipe at each other. Jealousy in real life sucks like a Hoover. Jealousy in fiction is marvelous fun. Best of all, Crawford is spared the discomfort, because she is pathologically oblivious to human emotion.

I love the way the fights reveal their personalities. Each of them fights in a slightly different way, and it shows who they are. They're all good, but each has a flaw that will show up …

housekeeping

Okay, I am a crazy busy woman and I keep forgetting to approve comments. So for the time being, we're going back to unmoderated comments. Hopefully everyone will behave themselves and I won't have to go back to playing nursemaid, right? Right?

I know y'all are good. It's always just a few apples that ruin it for everyone. The letter verification is still on, which should keep out the @#$! spammers.

And thank you all for being here.

Sanctuary Day Zillion and Two

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Today's work:

4,118 / 2,000
(205.9%)

This month:



I'm slogging along until I reach the end of Part Two, then we switch to the new project. I don't think it will go along at nearly this pace. Nothing ever does. God, I love this book. I'm under no illusions that it's the great American novel, or even that it's something new or different. I just love it anyway.

It's also standing at 72,495 words and we're not even halfway done. When I finish and edit it, I will have to take the drastic step of *gasp* CUTTING words. Usually I'm fleshing them out. But yipes, this thing's going to be the magna carta before I get it done. It's my STAND, my opus, the book that wants to kill me and very well may...

And I love it anyway.

Sanctuary Day Zillion

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You know, I keep forgetting about this blog. When you update three blogs, Twitter and two social networks, sometimes things fall through the cracks.

However, I am unofficially doing Nanowrimo. No, I do not like the idea of uploading my stuff to someone else's server to prove my wordcount. So I don't. I also don't like some of the "tips" they offer for increasing wordcount, like un-hyphenating words that should be hyphenated, or pumping up the adverbs and wordy sentences just to inflate wordcount. Yes, we make words, but we should not encourage bad habits.

But the "just keep swimming" part of Nanowrimo appeals to me, because self-discipline is my worst flaw as a writer. Writing some every day, regardless of whether you feel inspired - that's a good habit, and one far too many writers ignore (myself most definitely included).

I have a new project in mind, but it's a few days before I can get it started. In the meantime, I'm wrapping Part Two of S…

I'm famous!

Well, for 15 minutes, anyway.

Local author is living the dream.

Go forth and click! Drive up the hit counts! Leave comments (nice ones, behave yourselves)!

Now I better really have a good speech on Thursday...

change of plans!

I am happy-ish to announce we have to postpone next week's booksigning at AfterWords Bookstore in Edwardsville because we're out of books!

As you've probably heard me say 491849 times in other fora by now, THE COLD ONES sold out its first printing in about 48 hours flat. We will not have the second printing in hand in time for the scheduled signing next week, so it has been postponed to, I kid you not, Friday the 13th (November). I'm looking forward to it! Mark your calendars, it's gonna be a great time.

Don't forget I'm at the Glen Carbon (Ill.) Centennial Library at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday, to talk about things that go chomp in the night. Whether or not I do a reading will depend on the crowd: if little kids can hear me, I can't read from THE COLD ONES. It's definitely adults-only. We'll have my stuff available for sale, too.

Next month I also will visit with the Ocular Voices book club, but sorry, folks - that one's closed to the public.

I&#…

Lunchbreak Squee

So. Guess who sold out the entire first printing of her new novella in its premiere weekend?

Yup. That would be me.

Thank you to all the wonderful Archon denizens who bought THE COLD ONES! We had a nice turnout for the reading, most of whom I didn't even know. :) The emergency zombie bite kits were a big hit, too! And I didn't get arrested. Always a plus. I love reading THE COLD ONES aloud - it really works verbally. I got laughs in the right places and no one ran screaming from the room with hands clapped over their ears. (It is so not for children. I'm just saying.)

So we sold out the entire print run, setting aside copies for those who reserved copies in advance. See, I always tell you guys I can't guarantee anything if you don't reserve in advance, and nooooobody believes me...

If you reserved a copy, you'll be getting an invoice shortly and instructions. Your book will ship as soon as your payment clears. If you've changed your mind, tell us ASAP so we ca…

THE COLD ONES up for sale!

It's early! THE COLD ONES is now available on GenreMall. It looks very shiny! I don't know that it's going to be available on Amazon, so if you're not buying from me, buy it from them!

If you're excited about it, go to their blog post and thank them for carrying it!

And spread the word! Anywhere and everywhere. Let people know it's available! Yes, I get paid if you buy it from them, so feel free. Support small press, buy THE COLD ONES and aim for the head!

Flashbacks

Before I had this blog, I had the Scarlet Letters.

I wrote a regular column in college and later for my first paper. Then I went online, writing my own webzine with a weekly column, news roundup, quote of the week... sound familiar? :)

Anyway, I recently found the Scarlet Letters. Wow, I was YOUNG. Because I live to humiliate myself, I think I'll share some of my columns from the dim dark years of my youth.


Dr. Mom, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rain
(c) 1998

Rain makes me think about my mother.

Whoa! Stop, don't run away yet. I swear, this isn't a whiny, Freudian, weirdo-on-the-analysis-couch rant about my mom. I have a point here. Bear with me.

When I was a kid, I noticed that my mom was always in a good mood when it rained. I'd be sitting at the kitchen table after school, staring out the window with that woe-is-me expression that can only be mastered by bored kids, and she'd be baking something and humming perfectly in key (Mom is a musician) and I&#…

I'm gonna live forever

One of my least-kept secrets is that I am a former actress/singer.

Back in the dawn of time when dinosaurs walked the earth and I was a young lass, I had stars in my eyes. I fell in love with the theater when I was thirteen. Because I had a deep voice, they always cast me as the mother, the adult in the crazy crew. But I really wanted to sing and dance and fall in love and die tragically on stage. Preferably all at the same time.

In retrospect, I think I always wanted to tell stories. Sing and dance them, write them, true or false, just so long as I could spin the story for you. My love affair with theater was genetic - my parents met on a production of "Arsenic and Old Lace," and my family's history with music and the stage goes back generations before them. I grew up listening to my mother's piano downstairs, and would make up stories to match the music. (Which was inconvenient when she stopped mid-song and I had to rewrite quickly.)

I tried out for every play in jun…

DIY publishing

Let me be clear right up front: I've never self-published and never thought I would. The closest I've ever gone is the short story I write once a year to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

It's hard enough to get a shred of respect in the publishing world as a) small press, b) a woman and c) a horror writer who dared to put sex in two of her books. Every time I've pitched a bookstore on carrying my stuff I've had to prove (practically by blood oath) that it wasn't self-published. I've had my bio changed to call me an "aspiring author" after I had two books on the shelves at Borders, I've been sneered at and mocked to my face at conventions, and naturally, I'm broke.

But there was a panel at Dragoncon that has been weighing on my mind lately (and yes, I know I'm almost a month late in doing a DC write-up; I was deathly ill, sue me). It was the panel on the future of publishing, and I was going into it yawning because at every sh…

DREADMIRE update and COLD ONES questions

Because there have been questions...

If you ordered DREADMIRE and indicated you wanted the first edition, you should have received it by now. If not, please contact us at booksales@elizabethdonald.com so we can spank the postal service and get you a new copy.

If you ordered DREADMIRE and indicated that one or more copies should be the second edition, however, your order has not shipped. The second edition has not yet been released by the publisher. As soon as we have the books in hand, your orders will ship. We have not forgotten you! If you had other things with that order, we have been holding them. If you would prefer we send them right away, please email us and we'll get that done.

I appreciate your patience with the second edition. I've seen the cover art, and hopefully it'll be worth your wait. I love that book and I know you guys will enjoy it when it finally comes out. I'm in contact with the publisher and keeping tabs on its availability.

Regarding THE COLD ONES,…

How I Did It

Sometimes memes are nice, when they work as writing prompts instead of lists. There's one running about selling your first short story.

Mine is weird. I belong to Writing.com, only back then it was Stories.com. Back then you could still get quality critiques of your work, because the site wasn't the size of MySpace. I got a lot of critique that helped build me into a better writer.

And it happened, the way people think it might happen and it almost never does. Someone stumbled across my portfolio, found a piece I'd written and asked to buy it. It was the New Jersey Self-Assessment for eleventh-graders. You know those reading comprehension tests, where you read something and have to answer five questions about it? That year, the New Jersey juniors read my piece.

I was paid $75. Not bad for a first sale. I photocopied the check before I cashed it, intending to frame it, but of course I lost the photocopy. I keep thinking it'll turn up someday...

Two years later I sold NOCT…

WIP

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Whew. Not bad for 45 days. That's an average of 912 words per day, which isn't Nano speed, but I'll take it, particularly since that included two conventions, three illnesses, four parental crises and a partridge in a pear tree.

I forgot what this part was like. The part where you can't stay away from the book, where everything (including food, sleep and the company of other humans) is a distraction from THE BOOK. Can't sleep, book will eat me.

Come to think of it, did I eat dinner today?

Last Friday I got amazingly, catastrophically sick. And you know what pissed me off the most? That it hit in the middle of a really good scene.

I don't know if the book is Good Enough yet. But I've always known this was the book I was meant to write. Whether anyone else in the publishing world will agree with me, whether the readers will find it as fun and heartwrenching and exciting and goddamn fantastic as I do, whether it will ever become the book I want it to be - I don&#…

The Cold Ones at Archon!

Okay, I've (barely) survived the latest round of travel fun, and I'm so pleased with the responses to THE COLD ONES! Special thanks to the fine folk who hung in there at my Dragoncon reading for an hour and a half - they didn't even fidget. :)

I'm pleased to announce that THE COLD ONES will hit shelves on Oct. 2, courtesy of Sam's Dot Publishing. I'm further pleased that it will cost all of $6. That's just a titch more than a venti Frappuccino, folks.

Because we've had some difficulties with preorders this year, we're doing things a little differently this time. You may reserve a copy of THE COLD ONES in advance, but you don't pay until shipping. Send an email to booksales@... and you'll get your copy reserved. You'll get a bill in your inbox before shipping, and you can choose your method of payment. But please, do reserve your copy! I need a headcount so I know how many to acquire for my readers.

Naturally, it will be available from the p…

DRAGONCON SCHEDULE

There have been some changes! Here's where to find me in the week o' crazy:

FRIDAY

4 pm Autographs in Marriott 301-304
Show up! I'll sign whatever you've got. Trust me, it'll be the shortest line you'll stand in all weekend. :)

10 p.m. Little Deaths in Hyatt (Montreal/Vancouver)
The ubiquitous sex-and-horror panel.

SATURDAY

2:30 p.m. Reading in Hyatt (Marietta)
Reading from THE COLD ONES! There will be chocolate and prizes! BE THERE!

5:30 p.m. Vampires vs. Zombies in Hyatt (Montreal/Vancouver)
I'm not sure which side I'm supposed to be on in this one... I for one welcome our new undead overlords.

8:30 p.m. Undead in Dixie in Hyatt (Montreal/Vancouver)
I want to suck your blood, y'all. Watch me try to hide the New England accent as I talk about infesting Memphis with vamps.

10 p.m. Zombie Prom
(My presence has been requested. I do not dance in front of humans, so I can only assume I am to be zombie chow.)

SUNDAY

11:30 a.m. The Sacred & The Profane in Hyatt (Mo…

apologies... and house rules

We just changed formats here, and I didn't realize I had to actually click to approve comments. The comments for the last few days have been approved. I never claimed to be all that bright.

Once again: abusive and wildly off-topic comments will not be approved. Feel free to vent in your own space; this is my living room, and I expect people to behave as if they were actually sitting in my home. If you have criticisms, I'll approve them - as long as they're polite. Anonymous comments will be allowed again if everyone plays nice.

I love to hear from my readers. But there's only so much nonsense I'm going to take in my own space. Say what you will elsewhere, but here, let's remember the kindergarten rules: speak to others as you would wish to be spoken to.

WIP at last

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God-damn. I could use more days like this.

It's a cautious joy, writing something I love and knowing it's what I really wanted to do. Joyful because I love this story, love these characters and I think I'm making it better. Cautious because as much as I love this book, it's never right, and there's no one to buy it.

I wish I had the security of established contracts. I hate writing on spec. And yet most of my work is on spec. Is that because I'm small press? Is it because I have yet to land with one solid publisher - poly-published? Is it because I suck like a Hoover and nobody loves me?

Ah, the reasons writers drink. :)

Still, I'm having so much fun I don't want to stop even though my fingers are numb, my wrist is sore and it's midnight with work in nine hours. It's been a long time since I felt this way. And I didn't even kill anyone today.

In case anyone gives a dragon's ass...

My preliminary schedule for DragonCon is as follows:


FRIDAY

4 p.m. - autograph session (books will be available for sale)

10 p.m. - Little Deaths: The strange relationship between eroticism and horror (a.k.a. the Ubiquitous Late-Night Sex Panel)

SATURDAY

2:30 p.m. - reading (I'll be doing THE COLD ONES - be there!)

5:30 p.m. - Vampires vs. Zombies (hey, I can be a double agent!)

8:30 p.m. - Undead in Dixie (southern vampires, y'all)

SUNDAY

11:30 a.m. - The Sacred & The Profane (religion in dark fantasy; I bet I'm the token Christian)

MONDAY

10 a.m. - Challenges for Today's Writers (the oh-shit-we're-all-gonna-die panel)


I'll be in the exhibitor's hall hawking books any time I'm not doing this stuff, or perhaps wandering about mugging people in the hallways. Buy books!

Letters From the Research Pit

ME: Woof, when you get a moment, can I bother you?
WOOF: Yes dear?
ME: Magazine or clip?
WOOF: What do you want to do with it?
ME: Shoot people.
WOOF: Who are you?
ME: Military.
WOOF: Magazine.
ME: When is it appropriate to use "clip"?
WOOF: When you're a civilian.
ME: Noted.

This is why a writer must always have friends. :)

a painfully true description...

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Ye gods, it's my life.

Quasi-seriously, folks? If you want to see something other than the latest TWILIGHT clone in books, if you want to see artists and artisans thrive, if you value those snarky buttons and funny T-shirts that make up such a part of convention culture... bring the cash to the dealer's room. Every show for the last eighteen months has been thinner and the eyes of the dealers become more desperate. Keep them in business, or you'll be stuck with Hot Topic.

Oh, and buy my books. :)

Happy birthday, Jennie.

For those who knew her, today is a bittersweet day. It would have been Jennie's 26th birthday.

Jennie died in March. I intended to link to the column I wrote about her for the paper, but it seems those links only last for a few weeks and then they expire.

For those who don't know or who weren't with us, Jennie was our friend. She had cystic fibrosis. She received a lung transplant, but it didn't hold. She was on the transplant list when she died.

For her mother Selena, today was especially difficult in a manner I can't even begin to contemplate. My own son is so very dear to me, and I feel his absence even when he's just away visiting his father or my mother. I cannot comprehend the depth and breadth of Selena's loss.

But it seems an appropriate day to remind all who don't know about STEAMPOSIUM.

There's a connection. Bear with me.

As Jennie was entering her final battle, Conflation had a particularly successful year with a steampunk theme. In fact, it w…

Shiny art!

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Artist Janet Chui talks about the process for developing this lovely Dreadmire image:



Shiny, isn't it? I really think it captures Alesia particularly well. Anyway, read all about it on Janet's blog.

Dreadmire reminder

A friendly reminder that you only have until July 15 to preorder THE DREADMIRE CHRONICLES! It's first-come, first-served for those who want the limited first edition - I have absolutely no idea how many of those will be available after Babelcon, guys. Depending on how popular it is at the show, there may not be any.

So you must preorder AND PAY before July 15 to be guaranteed a book! While I'm hopeful I'll be able to get future shipments, "hopeful" isn't the same thing as "positive." The books are $18 plus $5 shipping, and if you order more than one book shipping is free. I have all my titles in stock at the moment, though a snag with the printer is making SETTING SUNS a little scarce.

Order now! Don't let the swamp boat sail without you! :)

P.S. Since there was confusion on this... order by emailing booksales@elizabethdonald.com, not by posting here. Yes, we're working on a smoother method. Possibly by the fall, more likely next year. Paypals…

Dreadmire presale open now!

Okay, folks, here's the way it's gonna go:

There will be a special first edition of THE DREADMIRE CHRONICLES available only at BabelCon in Baton Rouge, July 17-19. This will be an extremely small print run, and I don't have the price yet. However many are left at the end of the show - and I have no guarantee any will be left - I will snag for you guys.

The trade release will be out August 1. The cost is $18 plus $5 shipping. You can preorder now, and I strongly urge you to do so, because I don't know how many copies of either edition I'll be able to acquire. That's if you want a copy signed by me. If you don't care, you can wait and order from the publisher.

We'll take preorders starting now through July 15. If you prefer the special first edition, say so in your order, but keep in mind you're reserving a copy without knowing the price. However many I can snag at the show, that's how many I'll have, first come first served.

As before, if you ord…

Dream Fairy has a plan

Okay, normal people do not have these dreams.

I dreamed that I met with an agent who had brokered a deal for another collection of short stories. She had everything in place, including a cover, and I had a week to get the stories together. "But I don't have enough short stories for a collection!" I protested, but she didn't care. "Write them," she insisted.

Then I talked Steven Shrewsbury into writing the introduction on the horror short story as an art form, probably because my subconscious is still intimidated by Shrews' 350 published stories. Dream-Shrews was very agreeable. Less agreeable were nameless editors I was contacting to get rights back to some of my short stories so they could be reprinted in this collection. Which is funny, because I actually have the rights to much of my stuff by now. I think.

I spent the whole dream in a panic attack about getting this thing together by my fictional agent's unrealistic deadline. When I awoke, I was rel…

Hypericon Sunday - Denouement

SUNDAY

My wonderful minions (I even bought them MINION buttons) were so understanding about letting me free from booth duty. The first panel of the day was on constructing a space combat game that actually follows Newtonian physics. Now, I'm not constructing a game, but I am constructing space combat. So I attended the panel with Professor Rob Knop, designated physics nerd, and took notes on how Newtonian physics would apply to space travel and combat.

It's always humbling to be the dumbest one in the room. Everyone knew more about physics than me, including the teenager in the back. I took Physics for Dummkompfs in tenth grade and passed, fleeing it for molecular biology as fast as I could manage. I got about 80 percent of what Rob was saying, mostly because he was patient with my stupid questions. I still don't quite get why we can't go faster than light, because I don't get how space and time are tied together, because I'm not fuckin' Einstein. But I think…

Hypericon Saturday - Breaking the Laws of Physics

SATURDAY

I love Hypericon for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is that His Fredness never schedules anyone before 10 a.m. This is one of the many reasons we love Fred. But I was hunting Fred, because there was a zombie panel at 1 p.m. and I wasn't on it. Now, it wasn't Fred's fault, per se - he couldn't know that I had a zombie novella coming out because nobody knew it - I was announcing it at the con. But I wanted on that panel.

Keep in mind, Fred likes to give me shit. I'm noticing this trend among my closest friends and certainly my family. Those who like me the best give me the most shit. I'm all sweet and gentle to them, and this is what I get? I swear, I don't know what the world is coming to. *ducks*

Because I know the best way to find Fred is to find his wife Stephania, I went to the con suite. Stephania dashed my hopes, said she can't keep track of Fred at con without a bell around his neck. So I grabbed a diet soda instead and who should …

Hypericon Friday - Giant Beavers, Cherry Stems and Zombies

FRIDAY

All right, enough silliness. Time to work.

Flunkies lined up, we proceeded to the con for booth setup. The work Katie and I did clearing out all the detritus really paid off. The boothstuff was reduced to one rolling box of doom, and Katie organized all the books by title into fewer boxes, eliminating the endless trips to the car and the annoying jumble behind the booth. Brava Katie.

Therefore booth setup was much less painful than previous shows. I really like our design this year: Louisiana gothic, with moss-green crinkled not-silk draperies, cobweb black lace toppers, creepy-fabric accents on the racks and strings of little human skulls. What's that you say? I've got a dark-fantasy swamp romp coming out next month? Well, I suppose it's a coincidence!

The new display for the buttons worked amazingly well, especially when propped against the box of stained glass, which looks very nice on the black lace (too bad I can't auto-generate a window behind every booth, eh…

Hypericon - Preshow Show

How does one write up a blast like Hypericon? It's like a crazy, inebriated and decidedly geeky family reunion, except you like these people.

WEDNESDAY

The boy and I got a spectacularly late start - thanks, all you sources that waited until 4:30 p.m. to call me back. I spit my last breath at thee. With a little extra spit-up for UPS, which was delivering a box of SETTING SUNS and thought 5 p.m. was a good delivery time. I almost left without it, except SS is perennially my best seller.

I was on four hours' bad sleep, as I always have - ahem - performance anxiety before cons. I'm shy. And to be honest, I've had more than a little insecurity about my career of late, given the massive writer's block, the book that hates hates hates me and last year's publication setbacks. Whinge whinge complain bitch.

This one was a big mess to organize, what with two cons the same weekend. The lovely and talented Miss Katie handled DieCon in St. Louis while I was gallivanting about …

King of Frakkin' Swords

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This book hates me. It wants me to die in a fire.

Of course, I have 3912843 other things going on right now and I suspect if I locked myself away somewhere for a long period of time, I might actually get real work done on it. I might even start to enjoy it. But lacking a long period of free time or any creative energy at the moment, I expect I will not enjoy this motherfucker until I'm doing the second draft.

Just once, I want to be able to write a book well the first time.

In other news, COVER OF DARKNESS is in and preorders will ship after the weekend. Other things are brewing, but I can't tell you yet. Looking forward to Hypericon next week. For now, sleeeeepy. Goodnight, moon.

My Adventures with PRESSURE

I finished up my night shift a little early tonight, and thought I'd do my friend Jeff Strand a solid by picking up a paperback of PRESSURE. It's a terrific book, and Jeff was rightfully nominated for a Stoker for it.

I already have the fancy-schmancy hardback, but if I had a paperback, I could read that to smithereens and save my fancy-schmancy for when Jeff has a zillion dollars and nubile slave-girls feeding him peeled grapes and his first Big Break Book is worth a zillion dollars.

I went to the horror section, and to my chagrin, there were no PRESSUREs there. Now, I know the terrible stories as well as Jeff. The first week is the most important for a NY-published book, the first month is crucial, and authors whose books don't make it quickly onto the shelves can wind up screwed. There have been authors whose whole careers tanked because bookstores were lazy about stocking the books they ordered.

So I proceeded immediately to the information desk and asked if they had PRE…

Relay sale!

Welcome to the post I'm going to repeat so often you'll all hate me by the end of the month!

Most of you know I'm a team captain for Relay for Life, the primary fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. We're in the homestretch, and my team is small but mighty. But last year Relays were down by something in the area of 50 percent, and my team didn't make its goal for the first time since our inception.

So help me out! I'm scrounging for donations. Even $5 makes a difference, $20 makes even more.

And you'll get something out of it. In previous years, I've offered a short story. This year, you get a different short story for every $5 you donate, up to four! Two of them have never been published, even.

Please consider donating to my efforts. I guarantee when you stop and think about it, you know someone affected by cancer. Someone who fought it. Someone who died of it. Cancer is the truly universal disease. It knows no boundaries, respects no race, religio…