Archive for January, 2007


Saskia Walker’s Interview…

…goes up tomorrow!

So come back!

Yeah, I’m making up for being Twitty.


Maybe Authors Shouldn’t Blog

I can hear outrage coming from all over the publishing industry. And elsewhere too.

I know I’m a blogger myself, so let me explain.

According to CBS research David Poltrack, only 8 percent of Americans read blogs regularly. That’s 24 million people. From a Pew study, 39% of Americans have ever read a blog–57 million.

(I know, it’s a bit of a segue, but I’ve got a dozen other things to do today)

So is it worth the time spent blogging?

For some authors, it most certainly is. If you’ve found a sizeable readership, then hell yeah! Keep doing it!

But if you don’t, maybe it isn’t. And it’s not a failure on the blogger’s part if the blogger fails to attract an audience because goodness only knows what will attracts an audience.

There are many authors who started blogs because their publisher/editor/agent/other authors suggested it. I’ll discount the drive-by bloggers who only post about their latest releases every few months here.

I’ll give you….Author X! I’ve seen many Author Xes online, and I’m sure you could probably name a few yourself.

X tries. She does everything blogging gurus tell her to do. Blogs very regularly, does contests, links like mad etc. But she can’t find an audience who sticks with her. She’s been at this for a year.

Is it worth continuing to blog? Because maybe it isn’t.

The Pew study link is courtesy of Tim Worstall (yes, I’ve been trying to be good and reading blogs on economics but I do not think it’s been an edifying experience for me).


7 Questions with Patricia Briggs

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.

Now that the silly season (Christmas) is past, I’m somewhere in the 2 range. If I didn’t have teenagers to worry about, I’d probably be a 1. Writing keeps me sane. I’ve told my husband that it is much cheaper than a therapist. As a control-freak, whenever the world gets to me, I start writing. In my stories, if my characters don’t do what I tell them to do, they suffer — until they do. So at least in my own little world I am in control — which means I don’t have to be in control in the real one.

2. Was it a huge mental shift to write Mercy’s books, moving from fantasy to urban fantasy? I’ve read the Raven duology and Moon Called, and you sound distinctly different in both.

Yes. But it was a good shift, like taking off the tennis shoes which fit just fine when you first put them on, but, throughout the day, they became tighter and tighter. Then when you take them off, there is this great feeling of relief. I was very near burn out, having written Raven Strike in less than six months, and was ready to take a very long break. When Anne, my editor, called to ask if I could write an Urban fantasy, it was like a breath of fresh air: suddenly I had all sorts of stories running around in my head. Great fun. I expect that it will feel as good to switch back to straight fantasy as it did to change to Urban fantasy in the first place.

3. Is her series open-ended, or do you have an ending in mind already? It does look like the longest series you’ve ever written. Oh and I’m rooting for Samuel. *g*

This is very open-ended. Since there is no over-all plot, I am free to play a bit. Right now I have contracts for two more books (for a total of four) and I’m not getting tired of playing in Mercy’s world. I expect there will be more than four books. There is also a possibility of writing books about other characters.

4. Tell us more about the novella in the Ace anthology you’re doing with Eileen Wilks, Sunny and Karen Chance. It’s about Charles?

Yes. It’s working title was “Charles goes to Chicago”. My editor thought I should come up with a better one so it’s officially “Alpha and Omega”. It is the story of what happens when Charles travels to Chicago to deal with Leo, the Alpha who had poor Mac changed and then sold him for experimental purposes. I knew there was a lot more to Charles than Mercy knew about, but he turned out to be even more interesting than I’d thought. Fun stuff — at least for me.

5. You mention on your site that you will consider writing a book with a different protagonist. Do you mean different protagonist, but still set in the same world as Mercy’s?

Yes. There are a lot of things Mercy doesn’t know — and a lot of stories that I can see telling. I’d like to do a story on whichever werewolf Mercy doesn’t end up with, and maybe Jesse, Adam’s daughter, when she goes off to college. Or even Zee’s son Tad, who has mostly been an “off scene” character (though I have a few scenes I wrote to get into gear that have Tad in them). I don’t see myself running out of material very soon. Of course there is always that third Hurog (Dragon Bones, Dragon Blood) book that has been tapping at my subconscious for the last few months . . . I wish I could write faster.

6. Do you think the Mercy books cost you some of the readership you built with your previous books? It is very different from the rest of your work, after all.

Actually, for the most part, that doesn’t seem to be the case — though I’ve had a few people who read Moon Called tell me that they weren’t interested in straight fantasy. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that after reading Moon Called, they read my straight fantasy — and went on to enjoy other people’s fantasy as well. I think that most people would actually enjoy a lot broader range of story telling than they think they will.

7. Share with us your New Year’s Day resolutions.

Oh goodness. Not to make New Year’s Resolutions? That way I can escape the guilt of never, never ever, actually succeeding in any resolution I’ve ever made.

Patricia Briggs’s current release, Blood Bound, should be available in bookstores near you.


Keri Arthur: Full Moon Rising

I got this because Angie liked it.

And well, it’s not a bad book. But Full Moon Rising could have been SHORTER.

I think some of the sex scenes could have been cut, which isn’t to say they were gratuitous, just that I found my eyes glazing over each time a new sex scene popped up towards the end of the book. I don’t think I can say that they were gratuitous because I didn’t actually read them.

I can forgive a lot if you provide me with One Single Character that I desperately want to know about. Doesn’t have to be your protag even.

Except that I couldn’t find that One Single Character in this book.

This rates 2.5 out of 5.

PS Can someone tell me when Angie reviews the next books in the series so I won’t read the reviews and be tempted to buy them?

PPS The UK covers suck big great, hairy balls.


VA Rocks the socks off SB

The cover, that is. I’ve not actually been lucky enough to read Vampire Academy, though Succubus Blues was fab.

I think that the Vampire Academy cover is better. But Richelle tells me that’s blasphemy. Is that true?

It can’t be, right? After all, I Know All.

PS See Richelle,  I told you I talk about you all the time. This is Proof.

PPS In case she decides that I’ve incurred her Displeasure, I really do love Georgina Kincaid.


Friday, Fly High and Free!

RTB’s looking for reader columnists. You know, like me. But I’ll be blunt: it’s a lot easier to say, sure, it’s just a post every 6 weeks or so than to actually write one every 6 weeks or so. Speaking of RTB, I’ve got 2-3 possible ideas for my next one, but if you’ve got any suggestions, feel free!

To read about the UK book trade, read Scott Pack’s blog. Via Kate Allan’s Marketing For Authors.

Read Scooper’s review of Ninja. I’m not reviewing it because I’ve read it so many times I couldn’t tell you what the flaws are. Also, will someone please tell Racy she’s not supposed to be reading reviews?

Via Dear Author, a column in TV Guide by La Nora.

Read Angelle’s review of Demon Angel. It’s freaky how most people say the same things about this book. I’ve said this 3 times now. I likey Number 3.

Jaci Burton reviews Succubus Blues. And, hurray, I’ve got my hands on SDI!

But…sadly, not The Rest Falls Away. My bookseller was wrong, Colleen. I sad sad too. Also, the meme attacked me, you evil person!

For Jackie Kessler and Jezzie, Jezebel sauce.


Tagged by Jordan….

I thought I was going to escape this. Just goes to show that my survival instincts are non-existent.

Womens Fiction Book Meme

Contemporary, Historical, or Paranormal?

Paranormal. Duh. *g*

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback?

Mass market

Heyer or Austen?

Believe it or not, I’ve not read either.

Amazon or Brick and Mortar?

Brick and Mortar.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

Borders? Not that I’ve actually been to the one here in ages.

Woodiwiss or Lindsay?

Back then, it was Lindsay–I think everyone else who’s done this meme has said Woodiwiss so far though.  I’ve not read either in years.

First romance novel you ever remember reading?

Can’t remember, but it was a historical. Probably Woodiwiss or Lindsay though.

Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random?

Once upon a time, when I was young and had a lot of free time and excess energy, it used to be alphabetize by author, then title.

Now it’s random, but signed books/ARCs have a special shelf which getting full.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?

Call me naive, but I cannot believe people throw away books in perfect condition. That’s just wrong, even if you hated the book.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?

Remove. They bug the hell outta me.

Sookie Stackhouse or Anita Blake?

I’ve read both, and I don’t want more of either. I read the first Sookie Stackhouse, and the first 5-6 Anitas, so maybe you could say I’d rather read Anita though.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Usually it’s when the book ends, unless I’m on the train or something.

It was a dark and stormy night or Once upon a time?

Once upon a time. I’d rather read the backstory than about weather.

Crusie or SEP?

Crusie. Without a doubt. It’s true I’ve read more Crusie, but I’ve read at least 3-4 SEPs, so I can make a fair judgement, for all you SEP fans out there.

Buy or Borrow?

Borrow. I almost wish I read slower because I can’t afford to buy enough to feed my reading habit. Even if I bought only exclusively mass-market paperback, my budget would still be 2k (in USD) a year.

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?

Recommendation. If I see a lot of people talking about it, it goes on my list. Not much of a browser any more–my wish list goes everywhere with me now.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?

It’s enough that the major plots are tied up. Not necessarily the overarching plot of a series though.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?

When I have a spare moment. So I usually read on the train in the mornings, sometimes during lunch and before I sleep if I’m awake enough.

Series or standalone?

I don’t care so long the major plot in the book is tied up. It’s not like I bother to follow many series beyond the first book anyway.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?

Tuff question. I don’t know.

I tag Alice Audrey, Racy Li and Edie Ramer.


Thursday Thirteen: Me and the Mark Twain philosophy

This is in honor of Jane saying that I live by the Mark Twain philosophy.

1. The Mark Twain philosophy: Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.

2. I suppose it’s true. I like to argue.

3. And I like being the underdog. We shall see who can shout louder–probably me because I am loud. Not ladylike at tall.

4. Playing the devil’s advocate is fun.

5. I’ve a long and well-documented history of doing a different question from the rest. That is, given the choice of two questions, I’ll probably do the question less people do. This is without discussion, like in exams.

6. So I guess I do see things differently. That’s mostly a good thing. Unless, you know, you don’t want to get flamed–I’ve not gotten flamed before, and hope that I never will. But it might be fun. Fun is important to having a happy life.

7. I’d like to think that I do ask interesting questions to the authors who’ve been kind enough to let me interview them. Maybe 6 helps?

8. I’m very very honest. I’ll say the things people don’t want to hear, if I think they’ll listen. No point wasting my time and energy otherwise.

9. If they don’t like what I have to say, they can get lost. Or they can argue intelligently with me. I don’t mind. Ask Angie. I’ve not blocked her from commenting yet. *g*

10. And, well, to keep number 8 true, I think people are mostly stupid irrational. This applies to me as well.

11. Therefore the majority is probably wrong, and why you should be on the side of the minority. Be the underdog!

12. This is why I like economics. In your little world, you’re right and everyone else is wrong. *g*

13. Gee. I’ve run out of stuff. Do you know that I’ve not actually read Huckleberry Finn? Or the book about Tom? Is it the same book? Yeah. My classics education is severely lacking.

1. 13 things on Jaci Burton’s desk

2. Racy Li’s Debut Day

3. Angelle Trieste’s Must Buy List

4. The Gardella Vampire Thursday Thirteen

5. JoelySue Burkhart’s finished MBB#3!!!!!

6. Christine d’Abo’s TT

7. Jobs Scooper Does Not Want

8. I Am… by MG Braden

9. SpyScribbler learns from Natalie R. Collins’s Behind Closed Doors

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday Web Wanderer

Racy Li and Anne Douglas are joining the Richelle Mead School of Writing and Publishing. The school motto is Drink Hard and Drink Lots (especially on release day). *g*

Alison Kent‘s a Paperback Reader reviewer. I can’t wait to see her first review! By the way, if you ever visit her in her home, you can steal books from her. She’s got so many, I don’t think she’ll notice. 😀

Melissa Marr‘s Fun with Moral Relativism. Great post. Also, she’s evil and stay away from her–but buy Wicked Lovely.
Paperback Writer on Strange Fruit.  Strange fruit be yummy yummy. Justine Larbalestier has good taste.

Lara Adrian is offering bookmarks and magnets. I want the bookmarks. I just collect them. I’ve got a nice collection that’s growing, and if you want to donate, tell me! FYI, if you want my opinion, the smaller ones are better. Don’t make them so big that you can’t stick them in paperbacks without sticking out.

Gena Showalter’s doing a contest, and so’s Brett Battles.

Bruce Bortz: On why Bancroft Press won’t be entering the NBA this year

Maureen McHugh on Taste. Are you a supertaster too?


News, News read all about it!

Alison Kent is now a Paperback Reader reviewer!

Clicky here.


DNF is Just That

Janine talks about The DNF Dilemma on Dear Author.

DNF is not a grade I give out. If I review something, I’m damn well going to finish it, no matter how painful it gets–thank goodness I’ve not met an ARC that’s really painful yet. But I am able to push through to the end with good chocolate in hand. *g* That’s my magic fortitude pill!

I know I do this because I write, and if someone reviews something I’ve written, I’d like to believe that the reviewer read the whole thing. Moreover, sometimes it’s “It’s not you, it’s me”, like KristieJ said.

I also feel that DNF has a very very negative connotation and that there are people who think DNF and Wallbanger is the same thing. It’s not for me. If it was a wallbanger, believe me, I’d tell the world that it was a wallbanger.

I DNF a lot of literary fiction–I finish maybe 30-40% of literary novels I pick up at the library–because it’s not really my kind of thing, despite my obsession with trying to read them. I’m just about ready to DNF an alternate-historical novel–something I hardly ever read. I can’t think of a single thing I couldn’t stand about the book, but it’d simply be a chore to stick with it.

Sometimes it’s voice. This, I think, perhaps one of the most subjective components of writing. I always mention it in a review if I don’t like the author’s voice, because I figure it skews my grade of the book.

Maybe I’m being too kind. But that can’t be right. That’s so utterly wrong I must go force myself through that book I mentioned above that I’m about to DNF so that I can write a scathing review.

Also, do comment on Many Questions with NINJA to enter Racy‘s contest for a copy of NINJA, which is V. good.


Many Questions with Ninja

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.

One. I’m perfectly sane. Ninjas have to be. It’s Racy whose bonkers. I’d put her at an eight.

2. What was it like having Racy tell your story? Did she keep trying to make you say overly mushy stuff to Liz?

Racy had to learn many things. Such as the fact that ninjas don’t say mushy stuff.

3. Since I want to hear Ninja say mushy stuff, why is Liz the woman for you?

You’re almost as bad my sister.

Thanks Ninja! Joy’s my role-model!

4. Isn’t it wonderful having a sister? Joy sounds like the best little sister in the world!

Joy needs to stop stealing my bike. And she needs to stop dating losers.

5. Is there something about Aikido’s philosophy that appeals to you?

Aikido is about meeting aggression with mercy. It’s about blending with an opponent’s force and momentum, redirecting that power and using it against them, without hurting them. My father was an Aikido black belt, and it embodied who he was.

I practice it as an homage to him. But it’s not who I am.

6. So then what martial arts do you practice? What philosophy accurately reflects you?

I’m a shadow walker. I’ve studied them all. Use what works.

7. How is a shadow walker different from an ordinary ninja?

A ninja is a ninja. But shadow walkers can go anywhere there are shadows.

8. Anywhere?


9. How about the far side of the moon?

Yes. But then there’s the problem of breathing.

10. Right. How does one become a shadow walker?

Lots of training, lots of focus. Having shadow walking in the genes, helps too.

11. Why aren’t you a part of the superhero organization, the Planetary Protection Agency (PPA)?

Ninjas don’t work well with others. Besides, I don’t wear spandex.

12. Now, if you’re not in the PPA, isn’t it difficult having friends who are?

For them perhaps. By law, they are supposed to bring me in.


I’d like to see them try.

13. Do you really think the Jorans invaded Earth because of the Demon Realm, or is it just some nefarious plot to invade Earth?

I don’t know why the Jorans invaded Earth. I let superheroes like Centurion worry about the Jorans.

I exist because the Snakehead Triad exists.

14. This is the important question. I’m Racy’s critique partner, and I don’t know the answer to this question: Who is Racy planning to send off to a Happy Ever After next?

I’m a ninja, not a psychic.

15. Come on, you can tell us. Is it Jasper? *looks hopeful*

That Cossack? He’s a fool. But knowing Racy, she won’t leave him and Lia alone.

Ninja is the star of Racy Li‘s fabulous debut from Loose-Id of the same title, which releases today! It’s a wonderful book, and if you haven’t fallen in love with him already, what’s wrong with you? *g*

Full disclosure: Racy is my critique partner.

And and and….there’s a contest! A lucky commenter will win a copy of NINJA if you comment before January 30th!


J.M. Carr’s Learnt Lots about Vampires

Clicky here.

*g* She’s just fab.

ETA: More on Vampires


Because I know a lot of people who believe in the HEA

The Science Is Clear: Marriage Should Be Eradicated « Meditations on Meaning


7 Questions with Eileen Wilks

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.

Ah! Having saved these questions for one of my saner periods, I’d say I’m hitting around four right now, which is about as low as it ever gets. My craziest times involve synopses, intransigent characters, and, of course, the days or weeks spent in the depths of the deadline cave.

It’s so dark in there . . . .

2. How did you come to write Only Human in the Lover Beware anthology?

Dark Matter. Or possibly Dark Energy. I blame them for creativity, the Big Bang, and Happy Meals. (Even Dark Matter doesn’t get it right every time.) And what are these Darks, you ask? If the greatest astronomers and physicists of our time don’t know what Dark Matter and Dark Energy are, aside from the fact that our universe contains a helluva lot of both of them . . . well, I can’t be expected to explain them, can I?

3. Did you change much, in terms of worldbuilding, when you rewrote Only Human into Tempting Danger?

Though the plot changed almost entirely when the story became a book instead of a novella, the world it was set in shifted very little. Mostly I was able to peel back some of the layers I’d desperately wanted to explore earlier–layers that wouldn’t fit in the confines of a novella.

4. I’ve read many Chinese characters in books that come off as ‘bananas’, a derogatory term meaning that they are yellow outside and white inside. But yours don’t. What research did you do that you felt helped most?

Oh, a lovely question, as it allows me to brag a bit; I’ve been deeply gratified by the letters I’ve received from Asian Americans–and one from a girl in Singapore who’s never lived in America–telling me I got it right.
The nonfiction book that helped the most was THE CHINESE IN AMERICA by Iris Chang; I’ve also hung out on chat boards for Chinese Americans, read fiction by people like Amy Tan, and surfed ads on various sites. (So much of a culture peeps through in its commercials, doesn’t it?) Other than that . . . well, I’d wanted to write an Asian character for some time, so I’d been paying attention. I didn’t trust myself to try, though, until I had a Chinese American editor–Cindy Hwang, whose feet I kiss (but only metaphorically because, you know . . . yuck.) Anyway, when Lily Yu showed up I asked Cindy to yank me back if I strayed into cliché or inauthenticity.

So far she hasn’t yanked. She has answered questions, explained customs, and helped with Chinese phrases. (In case you’re wondering, Grandmother speaks Mandarin Chinese. She would, wouldn’t she?) So a good deal of the credit for authenticity goes to her.

5. Will you be writing any more Desires? I think the Tall, Dark and Eligible series were the first ever Desires I read.

Thank you! I had intended to keep writing for the line, but Desire veered off in a direction I couldn’t follow. The line’s guidelines now require arrogant, wealthy heros with a sense of entitlement and a strong external plot that doesn’t include suspense or paranormal elements. I can work with a wealthy hero with a touch of arrogance–hello, Rule!–but not the entitlement bit. To me, that means arrogance unencumbered by duty and responsibility. (Your speed may vary.) And no suspense or paranormal? Just not the way my mind works.

6. I saw on your site that you started out writing science fiction. Have any completed manuscripts lying around?

LOL–nothing anyone’s ever going to be allowed to see. Trust me. You don’t want to. I needed to write a couple of really bad books to get the hang of this storytelling stuff. (Or possibly to absorb more Dark Matter . . . or do I mean Dark Energy?)

7. What’s up next for us readers?

The third book in the series, BLOOD LINES (out Jan. 2! Go buy a copy! Heck, buy several!) answers some of the questions left dangling in the first two books. In it, Rule is dealing with the aftereffects of his time in Dis; Lily is trying to keep as much of the world safe as she can; Cullen is pulled away from his dragon hunt; and Cynna is confronted by her past in the form of the teacher who taught her most of what she knows about spellwork . . . and demons. Oh, and Grandmother returns. And Dirty Harry. They’re all needed as demons pop up all over and an ancient prophecy is fulfilled.

Beyond that . . . the book I’m working on now (tentatively titled NIGHT SEASON) will focus on Cynna & Cullen, though Rule & Lily have a role, also. You’ll also get to know Nathan Hunter and Kai Tallman Michalski–characters from a novella due out this September: “Inhuman” in the anthology ON THE PROWL.

And the book after that will return to Lily and Rule as they deal with . . . well, more aftereffects. Can’t say more without giving away some of BLOOD LINES‘s secrets.

Eileen‘s new release is Blood Lines. The Inhuman novella in On The Prowl will be released in September.


First Person Romance and…the Chicklit voice?

So when I asked for FP romances yesterday, it seems to me that most of the recommendations have a slightly chicklit tone. Cara Lockwood, Gena Showalter etc…

Now, I do have a copy of CT Adams’ and Cathy Clamp’s Hunter’s Moon, which is written in first person. In an interesting twist, it’s in the hero’s POV.

I also have a copy of Megan Hart‘s Dirty, which is in FP and is sort of romance, according to Megan. In terms of voice, Megan’s work is more what I’m looking for than, say, Gena Showalter or Adams/Clamp.

But really, what I want to know is, do you think there’s a connection with FP romance and the chicklit voice? I shall try to cobble together a RTB post from this.

My hypothesis (I’m so smart…I know so many ten dollar words) arises from anecdotal evidence, so feel free to prove me wrong.

PS I’m still look for recommends if you have any.


First Person Romances

I could go look, of course, but I don’t have time.

So, I want romances written in first person heroine’s point of view.

Um, for this, it has to have a HEA, because what I’m writing needs to have a HEA. And the HEA must be in the book, not several books down the line. Mine’s really only a novella, so I must compress and giving me a novel series to learn how to write a novella…Well, I don’t think it’ll be helpful.

Feel to recommend anyway, but just tell me that the HEA is several books down the line so I won’t rush to get them, okay?

I may write on first person romances for my next RTB post, for the deadline loooooooms. It always loooooooms, then it loooooooms, then it looms, then it’s here. So you see why I need to get started on it.


What would you ask a Ninja?

Racy and I had a grand plan involving me interviewing the star of her debut novel, Ninja.

Except that despite having read the manuscript twice, I can’t think of anything. My brain is on holiday, not because I don’t find Ninja (if I spill his real name now, she may kill me, and I’ve almost typed his real name twice already) interesting.

That is, I can’t think of any questions that won’t involve spoilers. Because, you know, I’ve read it twice and it’s really good and I hear a certain reviewer has asked for a review copy already. But I don’t think that reviewer reads this wee blog, much to my eternal misery–is that syrupy enough for you?

So if you have any ideas, please share.

And will someone tell me what snap thing Jane is talking about?

I’ll be studying all day. Most virtuous, I am.

PS I may miss some days blogging this week. Just in case you worry about me, since I do blog more than once a day, despite my attempt to cut it down to once a day last year.

PPS I know, I used to be really virtuous and post reviews, but I’ve not read anything recently. At least, nothing new. Scott Oden’s Men of Bronze is a really thick book that I don’t have time for at the moment, and that’s what’s at the top of my TBR pile.


7 Questions with Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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.

Hmmm… I’d probably go with seven. I think that all writers are at least a little crazy- we’d have to be to get into a business as tough as this one. And if we weren’t crazy before we started writing, spending so much time immersed in a fictional world-characters, dialogue, plot concepts- would bump us up the scale at least a few notches.

For me, my craziness probably manifests itself most in (a) the fact that I’m really, really random and following my thought process can be darn near impossible, and (b) the way that I sometimes get really caught up in my
thoughts. If I’m thinking about a story, I pretty much zone out.

The flip side to my craziness is that I do a really good normal-and-sane impression, which leads people to believe that I’m not crazy or weird at all.

2. If you could do it a second time around, would you have signed your first contract? Do you think that if it had come along later, you’d have been better prepared?

I would sign my first contract all over again.

I was lucky in that I had a wonderful agent when I signed my first contract, and even if I wasn’t fully prepared for dealing with the legal aspect of the business, she definitely was.

3. Have you ever been tempted to blow off classes because “you have acontract and you need to write but the truth is you really just want to blow off classes and have no looming deadlines”?

Hmmmm… there have been times when the idea of blowing off classes has been tempting, but really, I don’t think it would occur to me to blame writing. I keep my two worlds pretty separate, and I almost never write before midnight, so writing never really interferes with classes. Plus, my last two years in undergrad, I was taking mostly seminars in subjects I was really interested in, so I didn’t WANT to blow them off, though there may or may not have been a few philosophy lectures that I slept through because I just couldn’t drag myself out of bed.

4. You. Don’t. Like. Chocolate. I can’t believe that! It’s got cocoa butter, it’s got caffeine, it’s got sugar. All three main food groups in one scrumptious package…And you don’t like it. What’s your ultimate craving?

Right now, my ultimate craving is mexican food. There’s not a lot of it here in the UK. In terms of sweets, my favorite are these teeny tiny jawbreakers
that pretty much explode into straight sugar the second you bite down on them. Yummmmm…

5. Your other passion is cognitive science. So all you do is play with primates in the lab? 😉

I used to spend a TON of time playing with monkeys and lemurs- both in the lab and in the wild. There’s nothing quite like being on an island with 800 rhesus monkeys, or having a lemur climb you like a tree, and the research always felt like playing, because the lemurs especially loved participating in our experiments and used to fight (literally) over who got to go first. This year, though, I’m working with human adults with and without autism spectrum conditions. I love my new research, but I do miss the primates- I’ve worked with them pretty solidly for three straight years, so I’m kind of going into monkey and lemur withdrawal.

6. In 2008, your release schedule increases to 3 books in a year. You are also continuing graduate studies simultaneously. Where do you find the time to eat and sleep?

I always find time to eat. I’m a big fan of food (though, I will admit, not a huge fan of English food currently). Sleeping is another story. I have a pretty erratic sleep schedule. Some days, I only sleep a couple of hours a night. After a while, that catches up with me, and I sleep for 14 straight hours. Somehow, it balances out. I’m lucky in that balancing my studies and writing has never been that difficult for me- I research during the day, and then I relax and hang out with friends, and then, after everyone is asleep, I write. I never wanted to miss out on anything- academic, social, or otherwise-because I write, and honestly, I really don’t think I have. Writing is something I would be doing whether I was publishing or not. For me, being asked how I balance writing and my research is sort of like asking
someone how they balance school and watching TV.

7. I’m making the assumption here that you intend to continue working in your chosen field of study after you complete a PhD, but don’t you want to write full-time? That does seem to be the most popular writer’s dream around.

There’s a very good chance that I would have to bump my crazy rating to a ten if I wrote full time. I like to be busy. I like to get out and do things and be around people my own age. Writing is a pretty solitary career. It would be different if I was in a different stage of my life- if I had a family or kidsor something else I was really passionate about- but right now, I can’t imagine just writing, for two reasons. The first is that, as strange as it may seem, the busier my regular life is, the more productive I am in my writing life. I just got back from a three week Christmas break, and I didn’t write
a word, but now that I have to balance it with school work, I’m writing a ton. For me, being busy helps me to write- go figure. The second reason I don’t think I could write full time is simply that I write too quickly. I can handle three books a year pretty easily alongside my research career, but if I didn’t have research and I did manage to write “full time” (instead of procrastinating full time and writing part time), I would end up with a lot more end product than I could possibly use. I don’t want to flood my publisher’s desk- or the market. And besides, having a life and passions outside of writing gives me something to write about.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes blogs. Tattoo is out now, and the sequel to Golden, Platinum, will be released in September.


Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance

They are different.

Really. I’m not kidding. Believe me, because it makes up most of my reading.

Jane‘s picked my brain clean, so I picked Heppi’s brain and this is what he said:

  • Fantasy vs Paranormal is like Magic vs Ghosts.
  • Urban fantasy can have no otherworldly elements and paranormal can have no magic.

Then there’s the feel thing. A paranormal romance reads different from an urban fantasy novel.

Paranormal romances includes Katie Macalister‘s Aisling Grey series and MaryJanice Davidson‘s Betsy series.

Urban fantasy is Lilith Saintcrow‘s Dante Valentine, Patricia Brigg‘s Mercy and Rachel Caine‘s Joanne Baldwin.

You can have an urban fantasy with a developing romance inside. Danny Valentine and Japhrimel, or Joanne Baldwin and David. It doesn’t make them a paranormal romance.

You can have a paranormal romance with an urban fantasy feel–see Jeanie London’s Retrieval. But the plot, IMHO, puts in more in paranormal romance.

I have no idea whether this makes any sense. Poor Jane got a looooooooong sermon. Betcha she regrets emailing me now.

Now, if I find something to say, I’ll write about erotica versus erotic romance on Saturday.

Tomorrow, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the author of the fabulous Golden, will have her interview posted.

Oh and since Jennifer writes YA… I see Golden as a paranormal, but Holly Black’s Valiant and Tithe as urban fantasy.