Archive for October, 2006


Happy 1st Blogiversary to me!

Or should it be to my blog? *ponders* That’s a tuff philosophical question and I’m not a philosopher.

I honestly never thought that I’d still be blogging. I mean, I’ve tried this half a dozen times before, and I always got bored after the first few entries.

But here we are, at the end of year 1 and close to 800 posts. *mindboggles* Eight hundred! That’s over 2 posts a day!

So I’ve got a long list of people to thank:

1. All of you who actually read me, and who take the time to comment.

2. All of you who link to me. I’d list but I’m sure to miss out someone, but you all know who you are.

3. The very nice authors who have guestblogged for me, will be guestblogging for me and have let me interview them.

4. The very nice people at Romancing The Blog who are probably regretting inviting me to be a columnist.

5. Everybody else I missed. That’d be a reaaaally long list.

So here’s to another year’s worth of insanity from me!


Question for my Dearly Beloved Readers

Am I posting too many guestblogs and interviews?

I don’t expect comments on the interviews, but…the guestblogs? It’s all going downhill. All the way downhill.
Any ideas people?

Because, you know, I feel really bad when somebody takes the time to guestblog for me and there’s no response.


Glomming Editors

I saw this post by Smart Bitch Sarah a few days ago, and didn’t think anything about it.

Until today.

I’ve just read 2 books edited by this particular editor. We’ll call her Miss W. No, it’s not her initial. I just like Ws. I won’t play the hot or cold game, but if you guess her name correctly in the comments, I’ll admit it.

I’ve read at least 2 other books edited by her, have another on TBR (purely a coincidence) and at least one other book edited by her on my wish list.

Things they have in common:

1. I always loooooooove the concepts.

2. The voice often doesn’t *quite* click for me, though I’ve not found one that irritates me as much LA Banks. At least 2 of them have a ‘feel’ that I can’t describe, but they have it.

3. They push the genre envelope, one to the very edge. So far to the edge that I’m surprised there wasn’t an uproar about it. Or if there was, I didn’t hear about it.

I can’t comment on other editors, I’m afraid, because I have no idea who edits whom. I mean, I could tell you who’s editing at which company, but the specifics? Not so much. This one I know because it seems that she’s The Editor–you address all query letters to her if you want to submit to her line. Plus…Hmm, I think it becomes too obvious if I say anything else. It might be too obvious if you read some of the reviews I’m posting next month.

It occurs to me that it’s somewhat easier to target agents, especially since they have websites, with links to their clients, nowadays. And their clients link back too.


Jenna Black Talks To Us: When Dreams Come True

Being a published author has been a dream for me ever since I was a little girl. Books have always been my passion, transporting me away from it all when the real world gets to be too much and letting me have fabulous adventures I would never really want to have. I also feel like books give me some insight into how other people think, give me a chance to take a surreptitious peek into the mind of someone who isn’t exactly like me.

With books having so prominent a role in my life, it’s no surprise that I turned to writing at a young age. I wrote my first book at the tender age of ten. It was an autobiography, complete with crayon illustrations and a construction paper cover. From then on, there was no stopping me.

I should have known it was my destiny to be a writer when I first stepped into my high school English class and discovered that it was taught by a man named Mr. Shakespeare. (Edward, not William, sorry to say.) He was the first person to encourage me to write fiction, and by the end of high school, I had completed what I considered to be my first novel. (In reality, it was a novella, but I knew nothing about manuscript lengths at the time.)

College saw the completion of my first real, full-length novel, and the beginning of an inkling that I might actually want to try to get my writing published. I dithered for a few years; then, in 1989, I decided I was going to get serious about my writing and try to become a professional. So started my sixteen-year journey toward publication.

Perhaps a sensible person would have quit sometime during those sixteen years. I mean seriously, how much rejection can one person stand? And how arrogant do you have to be to imagine that all those editors and agents who rejected your work were wrong? But, as is the case with many published authors, I couldn’t quit. This was my dream I was chasing, and every time I thought about quitting, I thought about lying on my deathbed someday and asking myself if I really did everything I possibly could to make my dream come true. I couldn’t stand the idea that the answer might be “no.” And so, I kept writing, and I kept submitting, and I kept hoping.

Ever since I sold Watchers in the Night, about eighteen months ago, I’ve had moments of hardly believing this was real. I had imagined the moment, had dreamed about it for so long, that somehow it was firmly ingrained in my mind as fantasy. (I say this in past tense, though I still have moments when I think I’m going to wake up from the dream.) For a while after the sale, I half-expected my editor to call and tell me there’d been some kind of mix-up, that it wasn’t really my book she’d wanted to buy, but someone else’s. Of course, that never happened, and I have since sold five more books to two different publishing houses–a feat that exceeds even the dreams I’d once had.

At the time of this posting, I have only a few more days to wait until my first book hits the shelves. I wonder if October 31st will be the day I finally believe my dream has come true? I suppose it would be nice to have that confident certainty. But then again, as long as I sometimes feel like it might be nothing but a dream, I have the continuous joy of waking up to discover it’s all for real after all!

Jenna Black
Watchers in the Night, coming October 31, 2006;
Secrets in the Shadows, 5/07; Shadows on the Soul, 9/’07
The Devil Inside (Bantam/Spectra urban fantasy), Fall ’07

She’ll be here to take comments and questions, people! (My bad, I forgot to add this)


Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Golden

Jennifer got the teenage voice down perfectly.

Which, IMHO, might work against the book finding a larger audience, because teenagers are whiny, overdramatic brats, though I suppose Lissy does have reason to be overdramatic.

After all, she’s just moved from California all the way to Oklahoma and she SEES Auras.

The next book, Platinum, will be out next year, and I can’t wait for it.

This rates 7.5 out of 10.


7 Questions with Rachel Caine

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.

10. 10, 10, 10. 10 squared. Why? Well, here’s the landscape of my life at the moment: (1) Moving to a new house — a lovely house, but anything that could go wrong, did, up to and including lightning blowing up an oak tree in the back yard on the first night we were there. (2) Still trying to paint, repair and market the old house, so am paying two mortgage payments, two electric bills … (3) deadlines for books that fall every 30 to 60 days for the rest of the year … (4) a stressful day job, and (5) still not totally given the A-OK after my radiation treatments for breast cancer, although yay, I’ve passed my six-months mark, post-treatment!

So yeah. A bit stressed. But no worries. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I thrive on stress.

Which is, of course, INSANE. See above rating.

2. You originally started out writing horror as Roxanne Longstreet Conrad. Do you think your name change to Rachel Caine, something shorter and sassier, has changed your image? Did you change it to reflect the more hip and urban feel of the Weather Warden books?

Boy, I wish I was that clever and savvy. Actually, we were trying to create a clear separation between my earlier work — which, as you said, was mainly horror and suspense — and I wanted to keep my initials the same.

But hey, thanks for the “hip and urban” comment! I think my image — sorry, the idea that I have an image makes me laugh — probably reflects a little more of my actual personality these days. I have a great love and zest for life, people, fun … I hope that some of that comes across.

3. How much research do you do for the Weather Warden books? There’s the meteorology side of it, and the djinn–oooooh David! And do you write around your research, or research around what you write?

Good question! There’s a ton of nonspecific reading that goes into the WW books — I read a lot of weather books, obviously, and a lot of anecdotal accounts of people who’ve been through major storms, hurricanes, floods, fires … you name it. As to the djinn, I have read a lot of the classic myth and legend, but I freely and cheerfully admit to twisting them around to serve my own nefarious purposes.

I tend to incorporate the research as I go along in my plotting, but sometimes I run into areas where I know I have “knowledge gaps,” and that’s the last-minute research. It’s fun. I really enjoy the research aspects.

4. Glasshouses is a young-adult novel. A VAMPIRE young-adult novel, which makes me very very happy. <g> Have you always wanted to write one? Or did you have to be told that it’s a young-adult novel?

I was actually approached by the publisher with the idea of writing a YA vampire series, and my initial impulse was to turn it down on two counts — first, I’ve never written YA, and second, I wasn’t sure that I really had anything to add to a genre that’s been so well covered, especially, lately, by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

However, I got to thinking about it, and I was intrigued by the challenges, so I sat down and wrote out a proposal. As I went along, I found that I was coming up with things that surprised me, which was a great pleasure.

And the publisher liked the direction, so … there you go! I’m anxious to see what people think of it. I certainly am having a blast with it. (By the way, the second book will be called THE DEAD GIRLS’ DANCE.)

5. You’ve not chosen to take yet another pseudonym for your young-adult novels, unlike most authors who write adult fiction as well. Granted, you don’t write erotic romance or something else that you’d probably not want teenagers to read. But was there any other reason why you didn’t take another pseudonym?

Apart from the fact that I’m having a hard time telling who I am, considering how many pseudonyms I already have? Actually, the publisher really felt that using the Rachel Caine name was an advantage in this case.

6. Now you’re writing for three different publishers. Assuming one book per publisher each year, that’s 3 books a year, not including short stories. Have you thought about writing full-time? Do you think you’d accomplish more as a writer if you wrote full-time? Or are you a can-and-will-do-everything-in -one-lifetime type person?


… Oh, you wanted detail? 🙂 Okay, try this on for size — I actually have FIVE current publishers: Roc, Silhouette Bombshell, NAL/Jam, BenBella Books, and Fandemonium (out of Britain). Not counting anthology publishers.

I’ve had to back away from doing as many essays for BenBella Books as before, just because I’m truly, horrifyingly overloaded at times. (But I still love them. They’re excellent, fun people.) And I had intended to get two more Stargate novels done in 2006, but it seems likely now that at least one of them will slide to 2007. Even so, this year I’ll be turning in about four books and doing post-production work on three or four more.

I’m still not sure that I’d like to write full time. There are things that are very comforting to me about having a day job — guaranteed income, reliable health insurance, having a rigid schedule to follow. But it’s definitely getting more and more challenging to fit the puzzle together. Eventually, I will probably back away from my day job (although I keep getting promoted, and now I’m actually classified as “executive level”) and go to part time, or do freelance work.

But for the time being, I’m going to keep spinning those plates!

7. Joanne Baldwin and the heroines of the Red Letter Days books are kick-ass heroines. Do you see yourself as one?

Well, I am a complete loss at most sports, although I’m a halfway decent fencer. I can’t throw darts to save my life. I’ve never thrown a good punch, and my physical conditioning would give the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man a run for his money.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a kick-ass heroine. I see kick-ass heroines every day, and they’re my role models. For instance, a lady I work with went through chemo and radiation shortly after I finished my treatments, and she not only continued to work full time at a very demanding, stressful job, she did it with strength and style. That’s totally kick-ass. There are moms who do things every day for their kids that are stunningly heroic — working two jobs, plus doing everything their family needs. I know tons of quietly heroic women — and men — and their grace amazes me.

But me? No, I don’t think I qualify as kick-ass. But I’d make a hell of a good sidekick. And possibly comic relief.

Well, here at T&T, we think that Rachel’s a kick-ass woman. So chime in and agree with me. 😉

Rachel Caine has a LiveJournal. Glasshouses, Firestorm and the anthology My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding should be in a bookstore near you.


Why Eat to Live When You Can Live to Eat?

I don’t get this, people.

I just don’t understand why people can’t believe that I walked an extra ten minutes to buy something nicer rather than eating something I like less!

Friend: You walked all the way there to buy wantons?

Me: They are yummy. *munches* You try.

Friend: Yes, but they sell them nearer here too.

Me: But these are yummier. Not so greasy too.  *munches contentedly*

Friend: So? *I stuff a wanton into friend’s mouth*

Look, I don’t expect everybody to love food the way I do. I don’t expect everybody to go out of their way to buy food or to spend money on cookbooks and fancy restaurants–not that you need fancy restaurants to find good food.

I know not everybody has the same kind of family I do. I’ve aunts and uncles who call up to find out when we are going back to Malaysia and discuss where they are going to take us to eat. When we’re there, we are in the kitchen, and whilst we are eating one meal, we are discussing where to go for the next. At home, when my mom reads about or catches a food show on TV, we plan to go to that place eventually.

But if the difference is just a ten minute walk? Come on! It’s not an hour away by car or something.

Food feeds one of your senses: Taste. And all the senses can bring you pleasure. Make use of it.

Food doesn’t have to be boring. Food doesn’t have to be just fuel–though I understand that sometimes, that’s what it is. The taste of a plump, red strawberries. The buttery, flakiness of a good pie crust–I am anti mealy crusts.
Even junk food. If you prefer MacDonald’s fries to Burger King’s, would you buy from Burger King or walk ten minutes down the road to MacD’s? For me, there is simply no contest.

I admit I don’t truly understand why other people aren’t the same. I mix with people who are–and if you are one of them, I have one word for you: eGullet. For me, it’s sort of like why people say reading is boring.

But I completely don’t understand how and why someone would be unwilling to walk ten freaking minutes more to eat something she/he likes better!

Sometimes, other humans make me want to scream.