Fictionista, Foodie, Feline-lover

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Darkblade is coming...

 It has been a tough month for writing my own stuff but it looks like I'm going to make my deadline for publishing DARKBLADE at the end of the month. I don't write a lot of dark fantasy but I'm really happy with how this has turned out. Here's an excerpt:


Liam had found the sword in the witch wood two days after his 11th birthday.
He knew his mother didn’t like him playing in the little copse of trees but he hadn’t been playing; he’d been running from Jude.
Jude was fat and stupid and mean. And though he was 13, he and Liam were in the same grade at school.
Liam picked on the younger, smaller kids, but even the teachers were afraid of him. Because in addition to being fat and stupid and mean, he was also big, standing nearly six feet tall with big hands that he could transform into fists like hammers.
He’d hit their science teacher once and got suspended for a week. Everyone had hoped he’d be expelled but Jude told his mom that Mr. Safrani had touched in in the bad places and she had called a lawyer and what had happened was that Jude came back to school and Mr. Safrani left.
It bothered Liam that after that, the adults were too scared of Jude to intervene when he was bullying one of the little kids.
Liam had mostly mastered the art of being invisible but sometimes, Jude looked right through his cloak of invisibility and pulled Liam out into the open.
And if that happened, Liam knew that he was in for a pounding just because Jude liked to pound people.
And he liked to take his time.  It wasn’t any fun for Jude if his victims just gave up and passively submitted to his abuse.
Liam liked chasing down his victims.
He liked them to run.

An Ember in the Ashes--TBR

Over at Bitten By Books, Rachel Smith is running a poll about reading reviews. Do you read them, are you influenced by them? I realized that I almost never read reviews. For me, it's all about the title. That's what attracts me first. I really enjoy fantasies with fanciful titles that aren't "twee." I hate twee. I also hate whimsical. Which brings me to covers--the second reason I'll pick up a book. I love cozy mysteries and I also love urban fantasy and PNR. But if I see one of those silly chicklit covers that look like they borrowed their graphics from the animated opening credits of the old Bewitched series, I click away. (I will make an exception for Dakota Cassidy's books, which are aewsome!)
Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes is a book that caught my eye long before I heard the hype about it. I tend to be pretty impervious to hype. (I work in Hollywood and before that I worked for magazines and no pitch letter ever began, "This is a mediocre idea with limited audience potential.") I was immediately interested because epic fantasy is so dominated by male writers. I yield to no reader in my admiration for Brent Weeks' Night Angel books but I keep wondering if there's a woman out there writing the same kind of fantasy. (And don't talk to me about that epic fantasy about the girl who is chosen to be a prostitute for people who like to inflict pain. Yes, sacred prostitution served up with exquisite world building It has hundreds of reviews and if I found my daughter reading it, I'd be appalled.)
But Tahir's fantasy is based on ancient Rome and it comes with blurbs and enthusiastic quotes from the trade and popular press. It looks like it has large dollops of romance in there too. Well, who doesn't like romance? it was published today and I'm off to buy my copy.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday WilliamShakespeare

Brainy Quotes has a whole section of William Shakespeare quotes. Just for fun, check it out. And be amazed all over again by the genius that was the bard! (I love that when he couldn't find just the right word, he made one up.) Attached is the image I bought last week for the cover of my Shakespeare Noir collection of short stories. I know. I know. Nobody really buys short story collections. But over the years, what with one story and then another, I ended up with enough for a book. And this is a neat image. So sometime this summer, it'll be out.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Donuts--not just donuts any more

In the beginning there were three kinds of donuts: cake, jelly-filled, and glazed. The cake donuts were often covered in cinnamon-sugar, the jelly donuts were dusted with powdered sugar (making it impossible to eat one on the sly) and glazed (both cake and yeast) were dunked in a transparent bath of sweet syrup that grew translucent and crackled as it dried. Three kinds of donuts—the holy trinity of pastries. Wanting more seemed almost … blasphemous. But that was then and this is now. Now, thanks to the whims of the foodie gods, donuts are a “thing.” And as donut shops get more and more competitive with the varieties they offer, we have to ask—how much modification can a donut take before it’s not a donut any more and some sort of strange (but quite possibly delicious) frankenfood? It used to be that if you ordered a donut, you would get a circle of fried dough with a hole in the middle unless said donut was filled with jelly or custard where the hole should be. Then bagels made the jump from ethnic food to everybody’s favorite nosh and things got a little more confusing because bagels are also round dough with holes in the center, though they were baked and not fried. It was a lot simpler when cupcakes were the pastry du jour. A cupcake either is or is not a cupcake. There are no transitional states as there are with donuts—hybrids inspired by everything from Pop-Tarts to croquembouche . It’s all good, but is it a donut? So we have to ask—what’s the most outrageously delicious donut configuration you’ve ever tried and where did you get it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

All sunset photos do not look alike

I used to have a roommate who was fascinated by cloud formations and she took endless photos of them. And they all pretty much looked alike. I find that to be true of a lot of sunset photos also. But a friend sent me this gorgeous photo he took out the window of a train heading north back to Bellingham. I think it's poster-worthy.

How excited am I???

One of my producers sent me this photograph from MIPTV, the big global marketplace for buying and selling television shows.He's there to hawk a project I'm involved in and I could not be more excited if I were actually there. (This is the 21st century, so much of our lives is already taking place in virtual space that I feel like I AM there.) So wish us all luck!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Trying Out Amazon's Beta Cover Creator

I'm playing around iwth a new series from my alter-ego Delia Fontana (La Bruja Roja) and decided to try my hand at creating my own covers for each of the "episodes" before going to my usual cover creator for the entire "season" of episodes. I don't know...what do you think? I have this image in color as well, and I hope to use it on the final cover of the Vetiver Quinn stories. One of my concerns is that although the story is tagged "romantic suspense," this instalment (episode/chapter) is the introduction and I haven't had my protagonists fall in love (or fall into bed) right away. But that cover photo suggests they're already hot and heavy. Thoughts?

Friday, April 3, 2015

When someone gushes over a book

I was wearing the earrings I bought in New Orleans today and the checker at my supermarket complimented me on them. I told her I'd bought them in NOLA and she told me she'd loved the city. I told her about a cab driver taking me by Anne Rice's house and she told me how much she loved Anne Rice's books. And that made me think of the time I was in a supermarket in L.A. looking over the new paperback books. An older woman, a total stranger, pointed out a book by James Patterson--The 9th Judgment, a book in the Woman's Murder Club series. "That's a really good book," she said.
How cool is that? Can you imagine how great it would be to have total strangers recommending your book to people? You cannot buy that kind of word of mouth. When the first of the Twilight books came out, they came highly recommended to me by a friend's daughter, who was in middle school at the time. She's now in college, a writer herself, and I still rely on her for opinions in all things YA and paranormal. Forget being a best-selling author. What I want to be is an author that people recommend to strangers. (Well, don't forget it but you know what I mean.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Birthday to authors and illustrators born in April

Before there were "listicles" there were lists and I always liked lists. Turns out Scholastic has a neat resource for teachers that lists authors and illustrators by their birthdays. turns out a lot of my favorite authors were born in April Like: Hans Christian Andersen (April 2) Washington Irving (April 3) Beverly Cleary (April 12, and next year marks her centennial) Marguerite Henry (April 13) William Shakespeare (April 23) Lois Duncan (April 28) There are more, but these are just my favorites.