Archive for May, 2008


I Don’t Read Like I Used To

I can’t do it any more, sit and read for 6-8 hours in a stretch. Mind you, I can study for that long, so it’s not about stamina.

Part of it is that I’m not usually lucky enough to pick up 3-4 books that I will finish in a stretch.

The other is simply that I can’t do it any more. I finish one book, and then I just don’t want another.

The last three books I finished were non-fiction and one book I am critiquing for Jessica.

On the one hand, it means I actually have time to do other stuff. On the other hand, I look at my TBR pile and it’s rather taller than I am at the moment.

In fact, it’s taller than it usually is and that used to be pretty hard. The books I’m planning to get from the library when I go home to Singapore? All non-fiction. Fiction just doesn’t rank very high on my list right now.

And I can’t help but wonder if it’s because the writing is going pretty well at the moment–though if I’m reading an ebook, I often read and write at the same time.

Actually, it’s just occurred to me that the only thing I’m reading consistently right now is Shadow Unit. If not for the fact that I’ve not updated my links in forever, it would so be there.

I will be here more in the coming months. My schedule will be more insane, but my time management skills are also exponentially better, so I shall WIN and have a life.


Jes Battis, Tess Corday and Derrick Siegel Talk to Us

Want to get the inside track on the world of Occult Special Investigator Tess Corday, and the world of the Core? You’re in the right place. Details on the contest below.

Jes: Welcome to the studio. I’d like to introduce Tess Corday and Derrick Siegel, who both work for the Central Occult Regulation Enterprise, or CORE. Tess, can you describe your job for the readers?

Tess: I’m an Occult Special Investigator.

Derrick: Level One.

T: [glaring]. Yes. Level One. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

D: I can read minds. Some people might think that’s much cooler.

T: But I get better hours. And I have a gun.

D: So do I!

T: But you couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with it–

J: [interrupting] Maybe you could both talk about what the CORE does, exactly.

T: Sure. They’re a transnational blanket organization that investigates occult homicides. They use a mixture of forensic technology and mystical rituals to analyze paranormal crime scenes.

D: Like on CSI Las Vegas.

T: Not, not like on CSI Las Vegas. They don’t have demons and warlocks.

D: But they have Bill Petersen. He’s hot.

T: Of course. But he doesn’t have to analyze vampire DNA.

D: Also, we don’t wear fancy clothes like the people on CSI. There’s no point, since we’ll just get blood and demon guts on them anyways.

J: What’s the most difficult case you’ve ever been on?

T: In Night Child, we have to investigate a crime-scene with a dead vampire’s body (really dead, not just undead). It turns out to be a big vampire conspiracy. Things get pretty hot and heavy.

J: What’s a “night child?”

D: Didn’t you come up with it? You’re the writer.

J: I’m trying to be mysterious.

T: Well, then–everyone should read the book so they can find out.

J: What did you find particularly hard about the case in Night Child?

D: [giggling] I’ll tell you what she found ‘hard’–

T: Shut up.

D: His name is Lucian Agrado.

J: Is he a love interest, Tess?

T: He’s a big pain in my ass. Like a black hole.

D: Imagine if Gael Garcia Bernal was a necromancer. He’s that hot.

J: What does a necromancer do, exactly?

T: They can manipulate necroid materia, which is forbidden by the CORE.

J: And your specialty is earth materia?

T: Yeah. I’m good at channeling geothermic energy. Derrick’s telepathy comes from dendrite materia, but we’re not even sure if that exists.

D: My materia is just as good as yours.

T: Sure [inaudible] you’re invisible materia.

D: I heard that, betch.

J: Were you two ever an item?

T [snorting with laughter]. Derrick’s a homo.

D: [proudly] I am.

T: We made out once. It was funny.

D: I’m a good kisser.

T: [stage whisper] He’s really not.

D: That was back in college, though.

J: Is that how you two met?

T: We were both working for the CORE at the time, but that was the first time we met, yeah. They tend to enlist you early. I joined when I was 12.

J: How do you think that affected your life?

T: Um–made it a lot less predictable?

D: Luckily, they have full dental.

T [nodding]: The benefits are quite competitive.

J: What’s the scariest thing about Night Child?

D: There’s a butt plug.

T: He’s serious.

D: And a shark demon. Oh, and cursed house music.

T: And a bondage chamber, remember?

D: Oh yeah. And also, there’s a horrible scene with a gumball machine.

J: I don’t remember writing that.

D: You were probably high.

J [shrugs] Probably.

T: There’s also a lot of gruesome autopsies, bloody fingerprints, demon DNA, an eyeball, and second-hand couch that swallows people.

D: And Tess gets naked.

T: I do not!

D: Well, sort of.

T: OK, fine. Sort of.

D: Oh, and the black playdough. Don’t forget that.

T: [shivers] How could I?

J: Derrick, do you have a love interest in this book?

D: Well, Jes, you should know the answer to that. I’m just hoping that I get a lot more action in Hextacy.

J: That can be arranged.

D: Have I mentioned how awesome you are?

J: Yes. Many times. Anything else you want to add?

T: This book will scare the crap out of you. Seriously. Mo Hayder and Karin Slaughter and Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs all think so.

D: None of them have read it.

T: Not yet. But when they do, it’ll scare them. I promise.

D: The cover is also amazing. Tess doesn’t look that hot in real life.

T: You’re an ass.

D: I’m just being honest.

T: You’re just jealous because I got the whole cover.

D: I’m going to be on the next one. Tim Lantz promised to make me look just like Zachary Quinto.

T: No he didn’t.

D: Ok…he didn’t. But I do sort of—

J and T stare at him.

D: OK. Never mind. Just read Night Child. It costs the same as a venti mocha raspberry frappe with an extra shot. That’s a bargain.

Jes Battis debuts today with Night Child, the first book in the series starring Tess Corday. He has just finished writing the second book, so head on over to his blog to congratulate him!

Now, for the contest. Comment to enter, but the devil’s in the details, as they say:

You have to live in an area that has a locally-based (in other words, I won’t have to pay for international postage) online bookstore through which I can order Night Child for you, and if you win, you have to write a review of the book that I will post here on the blog.


Twisted Makes This Story Full of Win

Check it out here.


I’m at RTB today

I’m talking about the Ruthless Reader.

Slightly bemused about some of the responses, but there you go.


Kill Your Brain Cells, or Why I Wouldn’t Want to be a Short-Story Editor

Ellen Datlow offers us this gem.

Click if you want to rot your brain cells, or if, like me, you have been examined to the point where you have no brain cells left.

Also, above eighteen only. Though the mental images, if it can be called that, are so cartoonish as to be not pornorific…on the other hand, the Japanese do have anime porn, so maybe not.


Top Search Strings

I am gratified to hear that most people come here looking for miladyinsanity. At least, my ego is gratified anyway.

Charlene Teglia is the number one author people who come to my blog are looking for. You will be gratified to hear that Charli’s popping by again in July. (Charli, if you read this, I swear I didn’t ask you again because of this as I didn’t know when I emailed you that time.)

Other popular authors include Ilona Andrews (much love), Vicki Pettersson (much love), and Colette Gale (uh, haven’t read her but I can guess why).


CE Murphy Talks To Us

It was hard, and she tried to talk me out of one of my precious blogging ideas–she didn’t succeed–but CE Murphy is here at last.

“Blogging is hard,” I said to May while I was trying to come up with a topic for today’s guest blog. “Let’s go shopping!”

Inevitably, this led to a discussion of shoes. This is inevitable only because I accidentally turned May on to Duo Boots last year, and while I am not *generally* weak in the face of shoes, I turn out to be very weak in the face of boots that will fit my sturdy calves.

The truth is, actually, writing is hard, whether it’s blogging (me, I keep a journal, because blogging to my mind is more topical and focused than a journal) or writing books. It requires a certain discipline, ’cause at the end of the day nobody but you is making you do it.

That’s one of the hardest bits of being a professional writer. I took solitaire off my work computer (which is not hooked up to the internet) about six months ago, because when writing was hard going I
was spending hours and hours losing games instead of working my way through the hard bits. It’s soooo much easier to do anything other than write. Clean the kitchen, clean the kitty litter, go for a walk, aaaaanything at all.

But it has to be done. One way or another, if you want to be a professional writer, you must write. No way around that one, I’m afraid. You do whatever it takes to get yourself into the chair: word wars (a battle with someone else to see who can write the most words in 30 minutes!), a promise that you can quit “after 100 (or 200, or 300, or…) words”, a chocolate bar with your name on it (though you better put that at the end of a 3 mile walk, because writing is a sedentary job!), look at your looming deadlines, get up early, stay up late, write on the commute; a friend of mine says if you have time to watch TV, you have time to write. It’s a matter of making choices, and that’s more difficult than it seems. Even for me, who’s been writing full time for more than three years now, it’s not as easy as I think it should be. Many days I still have to drag myself to the keyboard to get any work done. I think that’s just part of any job, and has to be dealt with.

On the positive side, on days when the writing isn’t easy, I can always wear my knee-high, 3″ heel suede Duo Boots stilettos to work in, if I want. 🙂

CE Murphy is the author, most recently, of THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, in which she believes there is no mention at all of shoes. House of Cards was released in March, and the third book in the same series, Hands of Flame, will be released in September.


Magic Sex Please

Now, you may not know this, but I, together with New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost, are campaigning for Kate and Curran porn by book 4 of the Kate Daniels series, written by the fabulous Ilona Andrews.

Ilona’s looking for titles for book 3, which should be Magic ___________.

She said no to Magic Sex, so I guess she’ll just have to save that title for book 4, but in the meantime, we need Book 3, so head on over and give book 3 a name–there’s a prize!


The Economics of Fiction

Via [info]zornhau, Paul Krugman on the NYT Economics blog:

I’m startled at Brad DeLong’s ignorance: he thinks there’s something new about science fiction novels where the science in question is economics.

I’m honestly looking forward to the summer, because if nothing else, I’ll have to pick up on the economics blogs thing.

*eyes Google Reader mournfully*


Frog Princes

I’m not usually one for short stories, but I love this one.

Janni Lee Simner’s Frog Princes

I can’t wait for her YA novel to be out next year, and in fact, I’m so excited about it, I’ve already asked to interview her when it comes out. 🙂


Alan Campbell: Iron Angel

In Iron Angel, the second book of the Deepgate Codex, we meet the other sons of the goddess Ayen, and we travel to the other side of the world.

It feels almost as though we’ve taken one big step backwards from Scar Night’s finer focus on Dill and Rachel, such that in Iron Angel, we look at the bigger picture, but without losing the pacing and certainly not the feel of being balanced on the knife edge of action.

It is by far a better book than Scar Night–which incidentally, I appear to have forgotten to review. It is less…rough, for lack of a better word. The story flows, rather than occasionally stopping and starting around passages of lovely description.

The worldbuilding is, again, amazing. It’s not only the level of detail, but also that the details given to you are just enough for you to draw your own pictures without dragging the book down, something I felt was an issue in Scar Night.

And all this is capped with what I consider to be an glorious ending. There will be people who will disagree with me, but I think it is a pitch-perfect ending for this book.

Iron Angel rates 4 out of 5.

(The publisher sent the book to me.)

I’m giving away a copy. I do think this book is that good. Comment to put your name in the draw.


6 Questions with Alan Campbell

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, because my deadline is still a few months away. And if I need reminded of the insanity of the rest of the world in the meantime, I can always switch on the TV.

2. You’re not really going to end Book Three with “Everyone dies after 80,000 words” right? Seriously though, do you think that there might be a Third Book syndrome that follows Second Book syndrome?

I don’t think my publishers would let me kill everyone off after 80,000 words. I haven’t heard of Third Book Syndrome, so… fingers crossed.

3. According to your bio, it says that you left game design to pursue a career in writing and photography. You’re a published writer now, so what happened to photography?

I still sell pictures to magazines and newspapers through a stock library, but I don’t concentrate on it full time now.

4. Do you think that SFF writers might be more political in general? Or are they just more vocal than other (fiction) writers about it?

SFF has a long tradition of exploring dystopian political structures, such as in George Orwell’s “1984”, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”. This type of fiction can act as a powerful metaphor for current events, or even as a warning. SFF is a perfectly-shaped hole for that particular peg. But are SFF writers in general any more political or vocal about politics than other writers? Certainly not, when compared to journalists. We’re more political than romantic fiction writers, I suppose. But that’s probably because Romance, as a genre, doesn’t really lend itself to hard political analysis (and nor should it).

5. Iron Angel and Penny Devil. Would you say that the differing titles for the US and UK markets refer to different facets of the book? If yes, how so?

The title “Penny Devil” has now been dropped. We all thought it would be a bit daft to have two different titles for the same book. It confused me, and I wrote the book. The titles refer to two different characters. “Iron Angel” will also refer to something subtle and clever, just as soon as I figure out what it is.

6. Having picked up the violin at a rather, umh, late age, how’s it coming along?

Late age? What do you mean late age?

Well, it’s coming along like a sick cat in surgery. It’s a very sick cat, and I don’t rate its odds too highly.

Alan Campbell‘s current release is Iron Angel, coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Talking about Iron Angel, I’m giving away a copy. But just so you know, it’ll probably take awhile to get to you, since I can’t afford to ship it any faster. Just comment, and mention why you want it, and you’re in the draw!