Wednesday, May 31, 2006

when writing and life collide

i'm depressed.
i was going to move this summer.
and last summer.
and the summer before that.
but writing always comes first.

but this was going to be THE summer. have to do it. have one of those crazy mortgages that's now gone crazy. and of course i got it because i never planned to be here this long.

but here i am again with a book due December 1. I'm taking all of September off to promote my fall release. i know i should sell my house, pack, and move in this same time frame but i also know the book will suffer in a huge way. i could wait until december, then put the house on the market. but houses don't sell well here december through march, so that seems like a really bad idea. arggghhh! i keep rearranging things in my head and can't figure a way around it.

i can't plot this thing!!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

play dead at the idea boutique

my post is now up at the idea boutique:

The premise: Dead bodies aren't staying dead.

Turn on the news and there's another story about somebody waking up in an autopsy suite just as the Y incision begins.
That was the trigger for PLAY DEAD.

read more

Sunday, May 28, 2006

summer!! let's all dress like whores!!

if you go shopping you'll find you have two clothing choices: whore or tacky old lady.

you're needed, mrs. peel.

they should open an avengers line of clothing. i'd be right there.

okay, not a summer outfit but very cool.

love the row of buttons on the sleeves

again, nice buttons. cap is nice too. does that come in black?

i blingoed sleeveless black tunic and found this, which is how this whole thing started. the only black tunic i found that wasn't made for whores.

this is probably where my grandmother got the idea for all of her pantsuits. i think she had one in every color. good thing that style was retired.

hard to say what i like best about this. outfit, gun, hair, or slight smirk.

Friday, May 26, 2006

where do you get your ideas?

mine are just inside this door.

go on.

open it.


then you might want to check the idea boutique where heather waters asked guest bloggers the big idea question.
i just happen to be the saturday guest. ;)

the idea boutique

Thursday, May 25, 2006

announcing ThrillerFest hair-of-the-dog panel

ThrillerFest is just around the corner.

My panel is Sunday morning (July 2) at 9:00. If you've ever been to any kind of conference you know that this is what goes on that final morning:

1) sleeping
2) packing to get the hell out of there
3) getting the hell out of there
3) nursing a hangover

So I'm proposing a hair-of-the-dog panel. BYOOJ. I'll supply the vodka for your orange juice. It would be really nice if we could do without overhead lights. Maybe a few low-watt bulbs. Some soothing music, turned down low. Brian Eno, perhaps. I'm open to suggestions. I was also thinking people should shuffle in wearing pajamas, but i doubt anybody would really go for that.

what the panel is supposed to be about: Gender Issues in Thrillers

starring: Libby Fischer Hellmann,Natalie Collins,Anne Frasier, Alexa Hunt, J.A. Konrath

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sandra's doin' stuff! Cozy Noir contest!!

from Sandra's blog:

Next week, we will launch the Cozy Noir contest. What is cozy noir, you ask?

Well, guess what? We need a definition.

And that's where the pre-contest contest comes in.

Here's the idea. Noir stories, unusual protagonists. Now, conversely, I suppose cozy noir could also be cozy stories with unusual protagonists. Of course, being the sickos we are, we were thinking of the first definition. If you're a bit hazy on subgenre definitions, check out the subgenre guide.

So, here's the deal. I need your tag line and definition. How would you describe Cozy Noir?
Email me at and give me your suggestion. Say "Cozy Noir Definition" in the subject line please so I don't miss it. If anybody emails, on Thursday, I'll post the top contenders and let you, the reading public, vote for the winner.

This is when we find out that only two people read my blog, and my mother-in-law is one of them.

The winner will get their choice of a $10 amazon gift certificate or a copy of the Spinetingler Anthology with my signature in it. Or I'll buy you a drink at a conference if I'm going to see you in person. Or maybe the prize would be having me NOT buy you a drink and leave you in peace. I'm easy.

Which substantially increases the value. Not. But the anthology does have this really cool short story in it by Stuart MacBride.

And here's the inside scoop on the contest. Stories can be submitted between June 21 and September 5 - stories submitted before or after will not be considered. You will need to check the next issue and follow the submission guidelines.

And we're cutting it off at 100 entries. Which is why knowing now is a bit of an edge, because it gives you one extra week to get those creative juices flowing.

No editing on the contest, so take the time to polish your entry. There will be one or two sample stories in the next issue of Spinetingler so that you have an idea of exactly what we mean.

And prizes? Well, publication in our Winter Issue and an autographed book. No, you don't get an autographed book by each author, but you get at least one book, maybe more. We will have autographed books by Mark Billingham, Anne Frasier, Simon Kernick, JA Konrath, Stuart MacBride, Ian Rankin, Cornelia Read, JD Rhoades, David Skibbons and Duane Swierczynski. Some will be ARC's of their next works, some will be UK copies of books not yet released in the US.

win with me!

sign up and win stuff!
i don't usually do things like this, but i signed up through a friend and started using blingo and fairly quickly won an itunes gift certificate.

what's cool is that my friend also won the same thing.


Monday, May 22, 2006

do you sometimes have that not-so-fresh feeling?

sometimes i get sick of my blog and sick of me.
i think it's more of a boredom issue. today is one of those days when i'm not feeling funny and i'm too lazy to put in links --- although i spotted some great writing on what fresh hell is this? and mystery circus.

isn't this cute? and isn't cute everything a car should be?

i've had my current car for 7 years, and even though it has less than 40,000 miles i've been admiring these little things.

Friday, May 19, 2006

the new blog

i've been gradually adding things to the Pale Immortal blog. If you haven't been there you might want to start in the april archives. i hate the way it has to be read from bottom to top, and i keep wondering if i should just slap everything up in one long post rather than posting a couple of times a week. but one post would probably take forever to load.

Pale Immortal

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

today in history -- death of joy division's Ian Curtis

BBC article


secret anthology

i have an idea for an anthology that is either brilliant or idiotic. i was going to blog about it, but i think i should keep it to myself until i either propose it or drop it. this is hard for me because i'm such a blabbermouth. it would require the involvement of a couple of high-profile writers, so i'm not sure it will happen. but i'm thinking the concept is fun and exciting enough to have real appeal.
that's all i'm saying...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

you are getting verrry sleeeepy. and stupid

traveling to another world is exhausting.
yesterday i was able to jump back into my current writing project. i can write 10 pages of nonfiction and i'm fine, but fiction? that first day back is like traveling -- you have to get used to it. once i return from the fictional world in my head, i'm wiped out. i tried to post here yesterday but i was brain dead. i read other blogs, but couldn't put together a coherent sentence. i actually went to bed HOURS early because i was so drained. in a few days i'll adjust to the transporter beam and won't be nearly as tired. anybody else experience this?

Friday, May 12, 2006

looking for book reviewers

i have several ARCs of Pale Immortal i would like to send out for review. if you review books and you'd like a copy, please email me!


and the winner is...

thank you for all of the great laugh suggestions!
you will be seeing many of them right here from now on. i plan to print them out, laminate them, and keep them by my computer. although a couple of terrific entries might not fit.

(i wonder about putting them on a mouse pad...)

many brought a tear to my eye, a few brought several tears.

even though i doubt i'll have a lot of opportunity to use the winning suggestion, my own laugh meter hit the top when i read this mile-long acronym....


( rolling on the floor laughing my freakin' ass off and if I don't stop laughing I'm gonna pee myself and then I'll have to clean everything up and the dogs will wonder why they can't do the same thing on the carpet and that just won't work out for anybody because the next thing you know they'll start telling all the other dogs about it and we'll have a revolution on our hands and the dog owners will come after me with pitchforks and torches like that Frankenstein movie or maybe it was Dracula or was it the wolfman I don't know but I guess it doesn't matter because I'll be run down by pitchfork wielding dog owners with soiled carpets and where was I again? )

the winner is: Stephen Blackmoore

send me your address and i'll put an arc in the mail!


thanks again for all the great ideas!

and for those who didn't win -- i'll be having a few drawings for arcs.

nostalgia and dark places of the heart

last night as we were walking the dog i asked bob dylan if he ever felt nostalgic for minnesota. more specifically for minneapolis, duluth, or hibbing. if so, how did he fight it? because don't we all feel the pull of a personal dark past that we know in our hearts has nothing to do with the now or the future? in the dream, bob mumbled something i didn't catch, but i'm sure it was good advice.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

send in the clowns

you turn in the manuscript and wait for feedback.

that's a very vulnerable time. doesn't matter if you're unpublished or have written 50 books. when the project you thought would knock editors out is instead declared a POS, you tend to lose perspective. especially from a fetal position.

but with distance i see that i was right. doesn't make me feel any better, because the damage is done. i added the scene i was told to add, and there it is in all its glory, sticking out like a neon sign. it's clumsy and contrived, and completely goes against what i was trying to do. it takes place in the first third of the book, when readers are trying to decide if they should keep going or put the book down and never pick it up again. to be honest, most readers probably won't even notice it, but to me it's a pretty big deal because it's not just a scene, it actually tampers with the structure, mood, and pace of the book.

it's like a clown with balloons suddenly walked across the page. :D

the scene does have a purpose, but it's something that could have been achieved in a different way. sigh. the rest of is book is fairly solid, so i'm hoping it still holds up.

anyway, it's done.
i have a new editor for the next book.
we'll see how that goes. i'm not somebody who doesn't think she should be edited. anybody who reads my blog knows i need an editor! we all need editors. this was just a case of conflicting visions. it happens.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

win a Pale Immortal advance reading copy

i need a new way to convey blogland laughter.

i already have these:

bring me your laughs.
the best laugh wins an ARC.

contest ends when it ends.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

themes from the unconscious mind

in going over the galleys for Pale Immortal, i realized the book has a strong theme i was unaware of until now.

the very foundation of the book deals with people trapped by circumstance.

and even though this is the most other-worldly book i've ever written, facets of it strongly parallel my own life.

so strange...

the trapped-by-circumstance element was something i was asked to remove. now i better understand why i couldn't make myself do it.

got word that ARCs were mailed to me today. keep your eyes open for a drawing!!

Be back soon

got a root canal yesterday. the vote on that issue seemed to be about 50/50, with people having strong opinions on both the root canal and extraction.
hope to have the galleys in the mail wednesday or thursday.
crown fitting and temporary thursday.

be back soon...

oh, the root canal didn't hurt!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

page proofs, galleys, typeset pages

I'm not sure what to call these anymore. Used to be page proofs, then galleys, now typeset pages seem to be what I keep hearing. As far as I know, they all mean this:
Anyway, got the (insert 2006 description) for Pale Immortal today. They are due back in a week.

Repeated words. That's probably the thing I deal with the most when a ms reaches this stage. I've already spotted a repeat on the very first page! Of course when it was in ms form those words were on different pages, but still....

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

mother's day is coming!

When she found out he was married, she got drunk and hurled the engagement ring into the itch weeds behind the trailer.
That would have kept us in Lucky Charms for a week.

memories of mom

root canal or pull the damn thing?

2300 bucks for a root canal

back upper tooth

i think i should just get it pulled, but OF COURSE the dentist said i will regret it. this is the same guy who said i didn't need a crown 6 years ago when my old dentist recommended it.

please vote: root canal or extraction?

Monday, May 01, 2006

three reasons why good writers don't sell

1) the book doesn't work as a whole --

many amazing writers fall into this category, especially if you're in a critique group. you write a killer 10 pages every two weeks, but those pages don't work when you put them together. you are probably also writing whenever you can grab a few minutes, a method that can create a disjointed book of forgotten threads and many moods.

2) you've written the book of your heart, and nobody wants it --

unfortunately the book you really want to write might be the hardest to sell.

3) lack of mass market potential --

this is related to number 2. your writing is wonderful, editors might love your submission, but it doesn't have broad market appeal.