Posts

Showing posts from 2015

Post-Christmas Sales... and an explanation of LitUnd

No, this isn't just ads, I swear. You can trust me!

First, the ads. *ducks* Seventh Star Press is putting my latest on sale for the post-Christmas season: Nocturne Infernum for 99c. Ninety-nine cents, people. That's three novels, an entire trilogy, for less than a dollar. I personally am pretty proud of this book, which is really three books. If you bought the original trilogy, know that this isn't the Lucas Edition with extra CGI and annoying plot changes. It's the Director's Cut, with the dreck cleared out. Buy it on Kindle, or better yet: gift it to a friend. (Yeah, you can do that with ebooks, and it's awesome.) The ebook is regularly $4.99 - still a bargain for three novels. The paperback is $21.95 if you buy it from Amazon, $20 if you buy it from Literary Underworld.

Which leads me to the real purpose of today's post. I think I've done a poor job in telling people what the hell LitUnd is, and that's ironic for someone in the communications bus…

Elizabeth fights insurance companies.... or, Day Ending in Y

In the last few weeks, I've had to do more than the usual amount of fighting with medical insurance, the clinics and companies that provide us with health care. And frankly, I am royally sick of it. This shit was supposed to end when we got the "good" insurance.

• My "winner" this round is the mail-order prescription service contracted with our insurance. They have reached new levels of incompetence. One of my medications was running low, so I put in an order in November. Two weeks went by and it hadn't arrived, so I called to find out my status.

I was informed the order was canceled. Why? There's a form my doctor is supposed to file with my insurance company verifying that I really need the medicine he has prescribed. Otherwise they won't cover it. First: If I were a doctor, I'd be goddamn insulted that form exists. "Yes, she needs the medicine. That's why I wrote the prescription. I didn't write it because I love the sight of my o…

Snippets, Momfia Edition

Image
Me: Would you pour me an iced tea?
Boy: Iced tea.... Me: Giant pitcher, in the fridge. Hard to mistake for the OJ. Boy: Please? Me: Would you please bring me an iced tea? Boy: Thank you. I'm going to teach you manners. Me: Oh shut up. 

Me: On Saturday, we have to take the car to the repair place to get the estimate on repairing the damage.* Boy: Okay. Wait, Saturday? Me: Yes, sadly we will have to reschedule our Star Wars tickets. Boy: What. Me: Then we are bringing you back here, since the Pezzas are picking you up for the Christmas pageant rehearsal - Boy: WHAT. Me: - because that's the night Jim and I are doing our annual Christmas shopping date - Boy: When are we rescheduling Star Wars! Me: 😈 Boy: When. are. we. rescheduling. Star Wars. Me: We're not. I'm just messing with you. Boy: 👺 Why? Me: Have we met? Boy: 😝 Me: I tried it on Jimmy. You would have thought I asked him for a divorce.


Boy: One of my New Year's resolutions is to get a job.
Me: That's a …

Dance Macrame by Stephen King

You must understand, Jim is working on a paper comparing sexuality and the vampire mythos in Bram Stoker's Dracula and Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot. King himself addressed this dichotomy in his 1980 nonfiction overview of the horror genre, Danse Macabre. My copy has mysteriously vanished from my library (damn you isabel) and copies of older King books are silly expensive.

After the write-in, I stopped by BSR Books in Granite City to chat with the owners and check on their stock of my books. I managed to buy only four books, which is restraint for me. At one point, I texted Jim.

Fun times with autocorrect.

ME: Warning. I am hanging out in a used bookstore.
JIM: See if they have dance Mac.
ME: ?
JIM: The boom I bedbugs
JIM: The book I need
JIM: Dance macrame
JIM: Shit you what I need for the book report
JIM: Know what I need
ME: This is going on Facebook.
JIM: Nooooooo!

Alas, they did not have Danse Macabre. Or Dance Macrame, a Stephen King book as yet unknown to me. But …

Parade Rest

All media reports indicated that there would be a gigantic storm this evening. Meetings were canceled; it was right up to the deadline whether the Veterans Day parade would go on. This was important, because Boy's Scout troop helped carry the giant flag with the Edwardsville Lions.
The evening turned out marvelously.
BOY: By the way, it didn't rain a DROP on the parade, you liar. ME: Hush you. BOY: You were all about the rain. ME: Look, Spawn, it's not my fault. We in the press actually know squat-all about predicting the weather. Air pressure, humidity, whatever. All we know how to do is read the National Weather Service report and tell you people what they say. File your complaints with them. BOY: Rain. Hail. Tornadoes. Stormageddon. ME: National. Weather. Service. BOY: YOU said - ME: I said what the National Weather Service said! So everybody go out and buy milk, eggs and bread,* and the worst thing that happens is everyone has French toast for a day. BOY: Can we have grille…

Writers die of exposure

"If you want to take an author's hard work, and then use it to generate a profit, but you are not willing to pay that author in any way, shape, or form besides allowing them to sign their name to the piece, then you are exploiting that author. Pay them by the word, share your ad revenue, and by all means try to get a good deal on the work, but do not simply swipe it, post it online, and then roll around in the money like some kind of political cartoon."
This terrific quote comes from Neal Litherland's blog The Literary Mercenary, which is an awesome blog name I wish I'd thought of using. It's drawn, of course, from the ongoing discussion about paying authors, as if that's such a radically bizarre concept that we just started questioning whether people should be paid for their work.
I've seen Uncle Harlan's famous "Pay the Writer" clip from Dreams With Sharp Teeth about twenty times in these discussions, because it's exactly on point…

Annual Rant: Remember Remember the Fifth of November

... or, please don't.

It seems I will end up running a version of this column this every year, because ever since Alan Moore's damn graphic novel became a damn movie, we're going to see people running amok in V for Vendetta masks advocating freedom from oppressive evil government forces because popular culture is more important than, y'know, historical fact. Or something. We are a fact-aversive society now, and wearing a cool-looking mask now takes the place of useful action.

So let's get this straight:

• Guy Fawkes was not trying to overthrow a theocratic, repressive government; he was trying to create one. King James began his reign by offering religious freedom, at least the best that time period could envision. Only after constant threats of violence if he did not convert to the Catholic faith personally, and the Bye Plot, which was a failed plan to kidnap the king and hold him until he agreed to reinstate the Catholic Church as the sole faith of England, did J…

In which Elizabeth serves cheese with that whine...

Nope, not talking about the KKK "outing" that should have caused waves of shame across the internet, but the internet is shameless. Or my annual rant about Guy Fawkes masks, though I'll probably be unable to resist reposting my column yet again. Not even whining that Halloween is over and I am officially in Holiday Mode, but everyone else is still in Grinch Mode, so I have no one with whom to sing Christmas carols.

No, I'm going to complain because my wrists hurt.

Yeah, somebody toss a fiver to Joshua Hart with the X-ray eyes, because last week I gave in and went to the ortho clinic in Chesterfield. There is a tiny fracture in the right wrist and there is serious tendon damage in both, thanks to my graceful pratfall in front of the Doubletree Hotel during Archon. So I'm supposed to spend four to six weeks in matching wrist braces and undergo physical therapy twice a week.

There are a few problems with this plan. One: I find it damn near impossible to type in the …

Wash your spirit clean

Image
There is something magical about the quality of light in the early morning when it is filtered between trees that weren't planted by any landscaper.

I came late to hiking and backpacking; my parents took us on one or two camping trips when I was young, but Dad's idea of camping was (and still is) a four-star hotel on a golf course. I didn't really start camping until I was in college, a few rowdy trips when I didn't know what I was doing beyond the instructions in a book I found in the library.

But my first husband was not particularly fond of the outdoors. He said his family's idea of camping was a sleeping bag and a fishing pole. If you didn't catch anything, you starve, and you can just sleep out under the stars and eat bugs like a man. No wonder I could never get him into the woods.

The call of the wild. Eventually I took it upon myself to begin hiking and backpacking solo. And I fell in love with it.



The light, you see. That strange ethereal quality you on…

Decisions, decisions

Since I'll be leading a group of diligent Nanowrimo folk, I suppose I ought to work on something myself.

I know many people dislike Nano, and I wouldn't try to argue it with them. For some people it works as a kick in the pants to really dig in on a project. For some people it's distracting and leads to lousy writing habits. And for some people whose lives regularly interfere with their writing, Nano provides them with an escape to give them leave to work on their passion - the spouse and kids can't tap them on the shoulder if they're at a write-in.

For me, it is an opportunity to focus on writing, as opposed to the business of writing. I am sorry to say that between my daytime profession, my own promotion, travel, the Literary Underworld and the Eville Writers, I spend probably 2-3 times as much time on the business of writing as I do on actually writing. For Nano, that gets flipped, and if that is the only benefit I draw from it, it's very much worth the effo…

Hell Week

This is one of those "hell weeks" when we have something going on every. single. night.

Tonight Boy is knocking on doors to sell popcorn. Which is due... today. It's only half his fault. He missed a meeting or two when I was on tour, because Jim works nights and neither of them thought to arrange his transportation to and from meetings. Then he sort of forgot that "gee, it's fall, shouldn't I be selling Boy Scout popcorn?" I looked at the calendar and saw "popcorn forms due" for today, which means he is scrambling to get some sales before his Scout meeting, where they will be untangling - er, sorting - Christmas lights for the city of Collinsville and turn in their popcorn forms.

Note: Family and friends, if you would like to buy popcorn from Ian, you can still do so online. You can go to the Trail's End website, enter ZIP code 62025 and select Ian S - Troop 1031 St. Andrew's Episcopal Edwardsville as the Scout you would like to suppor…

Smokeout

Two years ago, my husband did the hardest thing he's ever done. Something so difficult, so traumatic, so impossible that many people live and die never managing to do it.
And we did it with him. Never think that something this hard affects only the person involved. If anyone has ever brushed up against the monster of addiction, you know that the whole family goes into the shredder with him.
Jim smoked for more than 30 years. He came from a family where smoking was as natural as eating or drinking, from a region where 23 percent of adults smoke, well above the national average. It was part of him long before we met the first time, before we re-met years later on the book tour. 
It's not like he didn't know it was bad for you. You can't grow up, live or breathe in the United States without knowing that cigarettes and nicotine are unhealthy. We can shift it onto vaping as much as we like, and it's still just muting the impact of an unhealthy, expensive habit. But the …

FAQ: The Blackfire Series

If there was one question I got on the Fall Deathmarch more than any other, it was, "When do we get the next Sara Harvey novel?"

This is meta-funny, since the real Sara Harvey has written a marvelous novel called Music City and you should all go buy it. But they're asking about the Blackfire series, the books I've written about the fictional Major Sara Harvey, leader of a paramilitary crew of supernatural-critter-fighters.

(Note: I need some help on this side point. Sara Harvey was a U.S. Marine before she was recruited into Blackfire. Always diligent with research, I asked several real Marines who told me you never say "ex-Marine" unless the officer in question was kicked out; once a Marine, always a Marine. The proper term for one no longer on active duty is "former Marine," they told me. But after a panel at ... um, somewhere, can't remember which time zone ... a Marine came up and told me even "former Marine" doesn't exist. N…

Raise a glass of the blue stuff

Image
Goddammit.

Sadness comes, of course, but whenever I lose a friend to cancer my automatic reaction seems to be fury. I've been pissed off since Rachael died, and each time since it gets worse. This year has been particularly bad: at last count, we've had seven friends and family members diagnosed with cancer, and had already lost one only weeks after her diagnosis. And now another friend is lost to us.

Shorty. His real name was Stuart Bergman, but I never once heard anyone call him Stuart. Nearly seven feet tall, of course his name was Shorty. He was known to everyone who traveled the con circuit in the mid-south - after all, he was hard to miss.

Shorty. A gentle giant with a bellowing voice and an omnipresent bottle of the mysterious "blue stuff," an alcoholic mixture of his own devising that left your mouth numb if you were foolish enough to bolt the shot.

Shorty. Master of the dealer's room, the man who corralled all of us in and out of the hall year after year…

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition wraps up at Archon!

Image
Day Five of the Virtual Tour In Which Elizabeth Doesn't Have to Split Cab Fare With Strangers.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Today's batch includes a lovely review and another interview - aren't you people sick of me yet? Highlight of the review from Bee's Knees: "Donald is one of those writers that paints such a vivid painting of her world, I can see myself walking the streets of Memphis watching the nightlife unfold in front of me."

And if you're wondering what the snarky taglines above are talking about, here is a link to my ongoing feud with American Airlines: Escape From Orlando. Add your own Snake Plissken jokes.

I apologize, con-prep ate me and I missed a day. Posts to date:

Interview with Elizabeth Donald, hosted by Deal Sharing Aunt
Review of Nocturne Infernumby Bee's Knees Review
Interview with Elizabeth Donald, hosted by Come Selahway…

Escape From Orlando, or, How American Airlines Screwed Me

I want to begin by saying this: American has always been good to me. And up until a certain point, they handled the debacle that was Flight 1660 from Orlando to Chicago mostly with competence and grace.

The journalism convention had been marvelous (different post pending on that) and I had a late flight out of Orlando, connecting through O'Hare to get home to St. Louis. My good friend Mark was on call to pick me up at the airport. I survived Orlando's horrendous security line, losing a hair clip to the scanner, and managed to snag a cup of Cuban coffee on my way to the gate.

Trouble was brewing. The plane had not yet left Miami because of a mechanical problem. Now, I try to be fairly sanguine about such things: I'd rather they fix the plane than let me become a smoking hole in the ground. But I was getting nervous, because I only had a 55-minute window to change planes at O'Hare.

The American staff told us that anyone with a connecting flight should come see them at th…

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition! Vol. 3

Image
Day Three of the Virtual Tour In Which Elizabeth Never Gets Stranded in Chicago.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Thanks to everyone who came to the live chat tonight! Much fun was had, plus the trivia contest and there may have been some Glenfiddich involved. Maybe.

Posts to date:

It's No Good to Anybody In Your Head, hosted by Shells Interviews
• Writer Wednesday Interview, hosted by Book in the Bag
• In Defense of Horror, hosted by The Den of Debauchery
• The Eroticism of the Vampire, hosted by Beauty in Ruins

The blog tour is linked and coordinated at Tomorrow Comes Media.

Naturally, this whole thing is intended to promote Nocturne Infernum. What's that? Good lord, you really haven't been reading this blog, or my endless blatherings in social media. Nocturne Infernum is the compilation of all three Nocturne books, following the adventures of my vampires in their alterna…

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition! Vol. 2

Image
Day Two of the Virtual Tour In Which Elizabeth Doesn't Have to Bag Her Shampoo. I could get used to this.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Today's post is below:

• In Defense of Horror, hosted by The Den of Debauchery
• The Eroticism of the Vampire, hosted by Beauty in Ruins

The entire blog tour plan is linked and coordinated at Tomorrow Comes Media. Coming tomorrow: an interview and another blog post! And at 8 p.m. CDT, I will be in the Literary Underworld Tavern chatroom to talk about the book, take your questions and maybe give away some prizes!

Naturally, this whole thing is intended to promote Nocturne Infernum. What's that? Good lord, you really haven't been reading this blog, or my endless blatherings in social media. Nocturne Infernum is the compilation of all three Nocturne books, following the adventures of my vampires in their alternate-history Memphis and the …

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition!

Image
This is my favorite kind of book tour: the kind where I don't have to pack anything.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Today's post is below:

The Eroticism of the Vampire, hosted by Beauty in Ruins

So be prepared to see much of this information posted and re-posted all week, with my apologies, except not really. It's all part of my evil plan for world domination. Muahahahaha.

The entire blog tour plan is linked and coordinated at Tomorrow Comes Media. I will repost this list each evening with the links to the various content, and additional content on this blog as well.

At 8 p.m. CST Wednesday, I will be in the Literary Underworld Tavern chatroom to talk about the book, take your questions and maybe give away some prizes! Links will be posted here Wednesday morning.

Naturally, the whole thing is intended to promote Nocturne Infernum. What's that? Good lord, you really ha…