Archive for December, 2006

29
Dec
06

SL Viehl: StarDoc

I loved this book. Can I say that again? I loved this book.

And I loved Cherijo.

It took me awhile to start the book. I read the first few pages, and well, there wasn’t anything that made me want to read the book. I mean, woman who’s planning to go on the run? What’s new about that?

But this is written by SL Viehl, after all. :)

This rates 5 out of 5.

26
Dec
06

7 Questions with Jackie Kessler

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

I’m happily slumming with the fives—definitely a bit nutty, but more in the delicious chocolate-covered way than in the lock-me-up way. Part of the insanity is my own fault (mental note: STOP CHECKING AMAZON RANKING EVERY HOUR). Part of it is writing-related (contrary to popular belief, the waiting doesn’t get any easier once you are getting published). Part of it has to do with everyday stress. But as for the rest? It’s all good.

2. There’s a whole host of paranormal creatures you could have chosen. Why succubi?

Why not succubi? :-)

3. Lilith, Lilith everywhere. Wait, you have a Lillith, with a double L in the center. But there are many Liliths in fiction today. Why is that, do you think? And why is yours spelt with two Ls?

When writing about a succubus, there’s probably going to be a Lilith reference in there somewhere — according to some stories, Lilith was the First Woman (the pre-Eve model), and subsequently became the first succubus after she got tossed out of the Garden of Eden for not doing it missionary style with Adam. She was the original demonic Working Girl. You gotta admire that. In HELL’S BELLES, the character is spelled with two Ls because it felt right. It rolls off the tongue: Li-llllllllllll-ith. I would have had more Ls in there, but that would have looked weird.

4. It seems like every writer is writing YA now. You have begun reworking your Great American Novel, your first ever book, as a YA. Is it industry driven, or is it “What the heck, let’s try this!”?

Both. I was going nowhere with it in its previous version — for good reason, in retrospect. The characters were college seniors, which automatically puts them in the “Who the hell is the target audience?” bracket. And then there was the cliché plot, the been-there-done-that world building, and…um, no, that’s pretty much why the previous versions of the GAN sucked. But I was in love with the story. After 17 years of tinkering with it, the characters were a part of me. And the magic system I created kicked ass, so I really wanted to do something with it instead of let it die a multi-rejection sort of death.

After I read a couple of terrific YA urban fantasies (including the fabulous upcoming EIGHTH GRADE BITES by Heather Brewer), I started thinking about whether the characters in the GAN would work better as high school students. And what if, instead of having the protagonists bamf to a Place Where There Is Magic, the characters were ALREADY in a place where there was magic — and the magic was an evil thing? So I decided to make the world in the GAN a very dark reflection of our own reality. And boom: you have THE MAGIC BRIGADE. Currently on submission. Wish me luck!

5. Did you and Richelle Mead, the other Kensington succubus author, meet through your publisher? And how did you two get from meeting to blogging together on Magical Minxes?

I became aware of Richelle 90 minutes before I started querying literary agents about HELL’S BELLES. I was going through Publishers Marketplace to catch the latest deals…and there was SUCCUBUS BLUES, in all its three-book-deal glory, about a modern day succubus. I cried. Utter hysterics. Even chocolate couldn’t calm me down. Then I got busy and queried. Scored the agent and a three-book sale. Look at that: the market can support more than one succubus author! :-) Author Joe Konrath said at the June 2006 Backspace Conference that it’s insane for authors not to support each other, because readers are not going to pick one author exclusively over another. I agree: most likely, people who read HELL’S BELLES will also read SUCCUBUS BLUES, and vice versa. So I emailed Richelle to introduce myself as the other Kensington Succubus Author. We exchanged emails, and I was thrilled to discover just how freaking cool Richelle is. Now she’s one of my closest friends, whom I’ve never met. (Love that Internet!) We joked for a while about how we should do a Kensington Succubus Diva tour. But the idea of Magical Minxes was all Richelle. She’s brilliant. Richelle designed the site’s look and feel, and we worked together to come up with content ideas. It’s an evolving process (we recently added the amazing Caitlin Kittredge and her protagonist/cop/werewolf Luna to the Minxy mix) and it has its complications (Richelle is in Seattle; I’m in Upstate New York). But we love Magical Minxes.

6. You’re the fantasy editor for Wild Child Publishing. Are you one of those dreaded creatures, an infernal editor…an editor from Hell? And do you have an internal editor or an infernal editor?

Depends on how you define “infernal” in this case. :-) I’ll push back with authors if I think a plot point doesn’t work, but I like to think that I’m flexible. (Then again, so’s Jezebel. So maybe I really am an infernal creature.) As for editing my own work…yeah, my internal editor can be quite hellish.

7. Like me, you’re five feet tall (okay, I’m shorter, but what’s a quarter of an inch?). Which part of Hell do people who like to hold stuff over our heads, out of our reach go to?

Heh — I’m actually four-foot-eleven and three-fourths. I round up. Back in the 1980s, I was at least three inches taller (let’s hear it for Big Hair and Aqua Net). As for the Danglers who taunt us…I’d say they’re just jealous of good things coming in small (er, short) packages, so I’d put them in Envy.

Jackie Kessler blogs as herself, and as Jezebel on Cat And Muse and Magical Minxes. Hell’s Belles releases January 1st.

26
Dec
06

Jackie Kessler: Hell’s Belles

Well, you all already know I liked this book.

What makes this book stand out for me is that Jezebel is not a human, and she in no way acts like one. She’s a succubus, and she likes being a succubus, even if she’s in a human guise.

Jackie has really cool worldbuilding. Cool enough that I’m V. jealous that I didn’t think of it first.

To be sure, there are flaws. It is a first book, and like many first books, I think it could have been paced better. At some points, Jezebel’s voice got on my nerves. Not her, since she didn’t do anything TSTL, just her voice.

Still, I really liked the ending. That’s more spoiler stuff. A lot of what I want to discuss is spoiler stuff, which I’ll take to the comments because I don’t know how to do the white-out code.
This rates 4 out of 5.

24
Dec
06

Why Tess Gerritsen Kicks Ass

Read it! This is an order! (I always wanted to say that)

18
Dec
06

Boys Do So Read Girls Books

Tamora Pierce is bugged, and very rightfully so, that people keep asking her why doesn’t she write more male heroes.

Janni Lee Simner on “But is this Right for Boys?”

I was going to rant, but I can’t remember what I was going to say. *yawns*

17
Dec
06

Russian Bread

I found this recipe over at Delicious:Days, and I’m posting them at Elisa Adam’s Cookie Swap too.

4 egg whites
a pinch of salt
125g white sugar
2 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cacao
1/2 tsp cinnamon
150g flour (1 1/4 cup for non-metric people)

Sift the flour, cinnamon and cocoa powder.

Whip the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks, add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff.

Fold in the flour mixture–do not overmix; this isn’t macarons we are talking about.

Fill your piping bag and pipe out shapes and what not. I’ve been sticking to straight sticks for ease of storage and writing time munchies.

Bake at 170C (340F) for 10-15 minutes. If you overbake, they become HARD, which makes them hard on your teeth. Underbaked makes them a little chewy, which isn’t a bad thing.

 

15
Dec
06

7 Questions with Jaci Burton

1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylum insane–and tell us why.

My level of insanity stays at an even average of 7-8 pretty much most days. I simply have more to do than I have time. My days are highly intense, fast moving, action oriented—just like my books. It keeps the adrenaline flowing and maintains my productivity that way.

2. You’re currently writing for FOUR publishers! How do you keep up? And do you think you’d like to be able to slow down at some point? Or is it your natural writing pace? And if it is, I’ll be turning very, very green.

The funny thing is when I started in epublishing I put out 20 books in my first two years, so I’m actually writing at a slower pace now than I used to. And don’t ask me how I did those first two years. I have no earthly idea, because no way in hell could I do that now. But I wrote shorter books back then, and I’m writing more plot complex books now, so the book output is slower, plus the edits are more intense and there’s a lot more in the way of copyedits, promotion, revisions, juggling between publishing houses and the like than I ever had before. The pull on my time with things other than writing is more consuming than ever.

My writing pace hasn’t changed, though. I write every day. Some days a lot, some days a little. And in between I do all the other things and somehow try to fit in a little fun and have a life, too.

In 2007 I will release 6 books (scheduled so far, anyway), but several of those are single titles, which are the biggest books I’ve ever written. So it balances out, I guess. And they sure seemed like a lot of work to me! ;)

3. You’ve co-written books with your husband, Charlie. How did your marriage survive it? :D Seriously, any tips for collaborating with other writers?

Charlie and I had fun writing together! We spend so much time together and he’s heavily involved in my writing career anyway. He helps me with my plotlines and with editing my books, so writing together was a natural extension of that. Though he claims he isn’t a writer, he has the male POV down extremely well and handles that aspect of the story, while I do the female POV. I do all the typing because I’m faster, so I put down what he wants to say, then we both edit. We’ve done two books so far and I’d have to say the second book went way smoother than the first. It’s probably my favorite Ellora’s Cave book.

As far as tips, I’d say patience is the number one thing when collaborating with another writer. Since Charlie works full time, he wasn’t always available when I was ready to move on our story. I had to wait. When writing with a partner, their schedule isn’t always going to match your schedule.

The second thing to remember is every writer’s style is different. Everyone sees a scene, dialogue, setting and characterization differently. Willingness to compromise is essential. The end objective is the best book possible and both partners must agree to that.

4. Is there a romance subgenre you’ve not written in? Do you think you’ll write non-romance novels in the future, or is the Happy Ever After necessary for you? (by HEA, I mean the RWA definition)

I’ve never written a Historical, but I think I’ve dabbled in just about everything else.

I won’t ever write a romance that doesn’t have a HEA. I’m writing heavy erotic for Berkley HEAT, but my editor is more than happy to let me write my Happily Ever Afters into whatever type of story I submit, which makes ME Happily Ever After *g*

5. Surviving Demon Island is your debut NY pubbed book. Do you think publishing in NY might, at some point, mean toning down some of the wilder sex scenes?

Not really. Language use, definitely, because erotic romance goes a little more hard core in some of the language terms than mainstream does. But the heat in the scene, no. It’s funny because when I wrote the first draft for Surviving Demon Island, I deliberately toned down the sex scenes thinking, ‘okay, this is NY, I can’t write hot like I’m used to’. My editor came back during revisions and said….’uh, where’s the heat?’ lol. She told me to heat it back up. So I did, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I hope the readers are too, because I think the love scenes in Surviving Demon Island are smokin’ hot and yet fun, without crossing the line into erotic.

Did that makes sense to anyone but me? *g*

6. Has moving from e-publishing to print as well lead to a change in the way you approach book promotion?

Yes, because I’m trying to reach a broader audience now. With my NY books being distributed as mass market paperbacks, I have to reach a new readership. The genres are different too, especially Surviving Demon Island being paranormal romance instead of erotic romance. I hope to reach new readers so my promotion is gearing up to introduce my books and my writing in a whole new way. It’s fun, exciting and a little scary. Kind of like being the new kid in school again. ;-)

7. What do you bribe the muse with?

Naps *g*

Jaci has a gorgeous website, and she’s currently hosting Twelve Days of Demon Island on her blog. Surviving Demon Island will be in a bookstore near you very soon.





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