Bad to the Bone

Two interviews & book giveaways

Quick post between vet visits (nothing serious, just routine checkups):

For the few people who are actually on the internet this close to the holiday weekend, your diligence is rewarded! I have two interviews up with two different signed books being given away.

Furthermore, I did not repeat myself ONCE between the two interviews. Although I may have used the word "and" in both.

Jocelynn Drake's giveaway of Wicked Game continues through tomorrow, and is now joined by a short interview about the WVMP series. Then Brooke Reviews has a longer interview where I discuss entirely different things, and where I'm giving away a signed copy of Bad to the Bone.

Yes, I forgot this was Labor Day weekend. I'm an idiot. But hey, those of you who actually check it out will have an even better chance than usual to win, because you won't have to compete with people who are out having fun.

Not that reading an interview with me isn't fun.

Anyway, have a great weekend, holiday or not!
Wicked Game

Win WIcked Game & see the kitten!

Actually, you don't have to do one to do the other. That's why this is a great country.

Jocelynn Drake's fabulous ongoing book giveaway contest continues this week with Wicked Game. The contest runs through Saturday, then Sunday she'll announce the winner post an interview with me. All you have to do is comment at her contest post to enter.

Got that? OK, now you may see the kitten (click for larger, cuter version):

Editor kitteh edits. (That's a red pen if you can't tell.) on Twitpic

Now playing: Great Lake Swimmers - Various Stages
bear cub

First the forest, then the trees

This blog post started off as a brief hey-this-is-what's-new-with me post, and turned into a whole essay on the the different kinds of edits. This is why I have trouble finding time to blog--you cannot shut me up.

I turned in my rewrite of Shade on Monday. On Friday, my editor will give me her line edits, and the final version will go to the copyeditor on September 9.

What are line edits, you ask? (Let's pretend you asked, so that I don't look pretentious.) There are usually two stages to an editor's actual editorial work on a book. The first one is called...hmm, I don't know what it's called. Let's call it the Global Edit, because that sounds very impressive and sort of humanitarian. The Global EditTM tackles the Big Issues, such as:

-- Character X feels underdeveloped and pointless to the story; maybe s/he can be combined with another character to serve the same purpose? I mean, does the protagonist really need TWO drama-riddled, arachnophobic, Vespa-riding best friends? Hmm?
-- Subplot Y fails to be resolved. We never do find out who made those crop circles in the shape of Dick Cheney's head.
-- The pacing of Chapters 5-9 was so slow, I sold them to a pharmaceutical company as a powerful anesthesia agent (patent pending).

So the writer gets the Global Edit and spends at least a few weeks (God willing) doing a rewrite. For all of my books from Voice of Crow through Bad to the Bone, this stage involved giant overhauls to the plot and characters and took about two months each.

For Shade, this major rewrite wasn't necessary, and here's why: A month before it was due, I gave the oh-so-rough draft to a pair of beta readers who should be awarded medals of valor. It gave me the chance to see the big-picture problems with it, which I fixed to the best of my ability before turning it in to my editor at Simon Pulse (Annette Pollert) on June 1.

Anyway, then the writer submits the rewritten version to her editor (which I did this Monday). Sometimes the editor sends back this version with "line edits." At this stage, the editor flags specific details in the writing--clunky dialogue, weak descriptions, or other Things-That-Make-Her-Go-Eww. Usually he or she won't correct things like grammar or spelling--that's the copyeditor's job.

So if the Global Edit is the forest, the Line Edit is the trees. Books are made of trees, which come from forests, so...there.

Keep in mind that not every editor works this way. Some will combine the global edit (you're used to the term now, so we're switching to lower case) with the line edit. My editor at Pocket, Jen Heddle, does this. The lovely part is that I can then ignore half of her line edits because they apply to scenes that I've axed. Efficient (for me, at least)! She also does a second line edit on the new version, but it's combined with the copyeditor's review. So that manuscript will have notes for me in two different handwritings and colors. Pretty!

As for copyediting, we'll leave that for another post. I hope this has been an enlightening glimpse inside my little corner of the publishing process. As you can see, building the perfect book has many steps, several of which involve colored pencils.

Now playing: The Distillers - Coral Fang
bear cub

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour

Last week I was thrilled to receive an invitation to join phenomenal authors Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, and Alyson Noel on part of their Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in September 2010. After I stopped cartwheeling, I said yes.

What makes Smart Chicks different from other multi-author tours? Well, for starters, it's run by the authors, not by a publisher or publicist (not that there's anything wrong with those--I'll take one, pretty please, any time *winsome smile*). That's why we can announce it now, before all the details are set in stone.

Not only that, but readers get a chance to have a say in what they want from a tour. Readings? Signings? Q&A? Photo ops? Swimming with authors dressed as dolphins? We're even taking suggestions on where we stop. So if you live in a small city that has yet to receive an author visit--or, say, a second Dairy Queen--come ask us to stop by!

All the information and discussion forums can be found at You can read even more about it at Melissa Marr's blog.

As you can probably see from the current roster, all of us write young adult paranormal, though many also write an adult series or two.

Aaaaaand, speaking of which, my revisions to Shade are due on Monday, so I better get back to that! But I shall leave you with a cute pic of our new foster kitty, Twinkle, who got spayed yesterday, so no more mommy duty for her!

Bad to the Bone

Book giveaway and upcoming appearance

Sorry, not at the same time.

But today and tomorrow you can comment at the blog of phenomenal NY Times bestselling urban fantasy author Jocelynn Drake to win a signed copy of Bad to the Bone. Go forth!

Next Saturday I'll be at the Waldenbooks at the Lebanon Valley Mall in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Not just me, and not just signing (not that there's anything wrong with just me just signing): from 10-11am, I'll be on a discussion panel on How to Get Published with fellow authors Megan Hart, Mindy Klasky, Savannah Russe, and Maria V. Snyder.

Then from 11am to 4pm I'll be signing, along with the above four authors and many others who write for all ages in all genres (quick note: if you want to see Megan, come before noon).

EDITED TO ADD: Twenty percent of all the day's proceeds go to benefit the Lebanon Library.  How cool is that?

Hope to see you there!
Bad to the Bone

The Ballad of Shane McAllister

I'm back! Bring on the Night is finished and turned in. Forks sticking out of it and everything. I am very happy with how it's turned out so far (realizing, of course, that I am in for the usual massive rewrite). For the second book in a row, I came up with an ending that changed almost everything I thought was true about its sequel. All part of the adventure, right?

Anyway, appearing today at Stephanie Kuehnert's blog, "Life, Words, & Rock 'n' Roll," is the hero of my WVMP Radio urban fantasy series, vampire DJ Shane McAllister (why I feel like I need to keep introducing him to you is beyond me. But you might be new, so hi!).

Shane is sharing his "ballad," a story of a pivotal point in his life and the music that formed the background, or, in his case, the foreground. It's all part of Stephanie's cyber-launch party celebrating the release of her amazing new novel, Ballads of Suburbia (which I talked about a few weeks ago).

Shane discusses how seeing Purple Rain changed his life, and not in the way he planned.  If you leave a comment at Stephanie's blog, you can be entered to win a choice of Wicked Game, Bad to the Bone (signed, of course), or $20 worth of WVMP merchandise (new stuff added recently, including dog T-shirts and "Feed the Need" baby bibs).

Only three weeks until my next deadline (revisions for Shade), and loads of e-mail, etc., to catch up on before I go all hermit again. We should be getting our first foster cat either this week or next, so I'll have fun stories about her. In the meantime, go visit Twinkle's page and say, "Aww!"

Bad to the Bone

Two interviews and book giveaways

I think as of this morning, I'm finally caught up on sleep!  Yay!  I need the brain clarity, since Bring on the Night is due in a week (technically next Saturday), and I have a lot of plot work to do.  Little things, like what the hell does the villain want? 

Also, for the first time I am finding it a major inconvenience that the vampires can't go out during the day. The timeline for Bring on the Night is so tight, and events happen so quickly, it's hard to wait for sunset to get stuff done.  But I'll work it out eventually; somehow I always do. (Of course, with every book comes the fear that this time the plot will kick my ass instead of the other way around.)

Anyway, today two blogs are interviewing me (luckily with mostly different questions), and each of them are giving away a signed copy of any of my books.  Winner gets to choose from my vast library of published work. (OK, maybe not that vast.)

At the first one, Smexy Books asks you to answer the question, "Kick Ass Chick or TSTL?"  Since TSTL stands for Too Stupid to Live, it seems kinda like a "Cake or Death?" question to me.  But whatever.  Just go leave a comment to enter.

Then over at Star-Crossed Romance, you can find out Ciara's all-time favorite song (it might surprise you) and a little bit more about my YA series.  Leave a comment to enter to win any of my books, signed and personalized by me!

I might drop in next week if I have any major news (well, I have major news, but I'm sort of saving it for an awards round-up post next month), but otherwise I'll be trying to finish Bring on the Night.  Wish me luck and much caffeine!
sun bear

Ballads of Surburbia release day and cyber-launch party!

Every few years, or maybe once a decade, I read a book that humbles and crumbles me, a book that cores my psyche with the jagged edge of a diamond drill. A book that reminds me why we write.

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert is one of those books. If you read my blog, you know that Stephanie and I are friends, and we have the same editor, Jennifer Heddle. But I have a lot of writer friends, and while most of them thrill and entertain me with their stories, and I will happily plug their books on my blog when I get special enjoyment from them, this is a whole other realm of awe.

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I (or possibly Shane) will be appearing on Stephanie's blog some time in the next month, and Stephanie will come 'round here on the same day for an interview, at which point I'll tell you more about this fantastic book. But you should definitely stop by her blog each day to check out all the great authors, artists and musicians. And win stuff!

Today Stephanie told her own ballad of how she came to write this incredible book. Oh, and you can also see her very first "vlog," her ballad of a birthday tattoo, along with a live reading from her book. She is incredibly sweet and real, as a writer and a person, so go check them out!

P.S.: I'm uploading photos from ALA and RWA one by one to my Twitpic page, and after I turn in my book next Friday I'll do a little montage here on the blog. Stories, I got stories!
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Bad to the Bone

WVMP 3 has a name

At ALA now (actually, I'm writing this before I leave, but let's pretend). When I return home more than a week from now, I have ten days to finish the third WVMP book, which is now officially titled....


after the song by The Police.

I am very jazzed that they let me keep my original choice for the title, as it fits the storyline even better than the titles of my other books.

Bring on the Night still has no official release date. I only know for sure that it will be 2010 and definitely not May, because that's when my teen fiction debut, Shade, will be released. Since publishers like to space an author's books at least a couple of months apart, I expect BotN to come out somewhere between July and September of next year.

I know, it's cruel to make readers wait more than a year between installments, but the good news is, your patience will be rewarded, because Book 4 (tentatively titled Lust for Life) will be released in Spring 2011 (I'm guessing February or March), thus giving you two WVMP books in about six months. Happy times!

This ramped-up publishing schedule means my writing schedule has also gotten busier, but I promise I won't forget my loyal blog readers (both of you). I have a fun event planned for this September to celebrate my five-year blog-iversary.

Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend!
Wicked Game

ALA/RWA schedule

I'm leaving tomorrow for ten days, for two conferences.  Even though I'm in total stress mode, I am incredibly excited about these events! 

The first one is in Chicago, and I'll get to hang out with one of my favorite writer friends, the brilliant and way cool Stephanie Kuehnert, who has a new amazing book coming out in a couple of weeks (I read an ARC last month--yes, I am a lucky dog). You'll be hearing more about her next week (the book, not her personally, unless she has something she wants me to share).

Then Sunday I fly back to DC for three days of behind-the-scenes tours of the FBI, State Department, Postal Inspectors, and CIA, with my mystery/suspense chapter of RWA, Kiss of Death.  Oh, and then the other conference, most of which I will probably sleep through after that long week of excitement.

I will try my best to blog at least once a week (I have a couple posts loaded up in the queue), but if you want updates from the conferences, you'd be better off checking my Twitter page.

ALA (American Library Association National conference) schedule:

Sunday, July 12, 8:30am-10am, YALSA's Young Adult Coffee Klatch

Sunday, July 12, 1-2pm, signing/book giveaway at Simon & Schuster Booth #3326.

Both events are open to conference attendees only.

RWA (Romance Writers of America National conference)  schedule:

Wednesday, July 15, 5:30-7, Readers for Life Literacy Autographing (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC--ALL PROCEEDS GO TO CHARITY)

Friday, July 17, 9:45am-11:15am, Pocket Books Signing (OPEN TO CONFERENCE ATTENDEES ONLY).


Also Thursday from 7-8 I'll be at the FF&P Gathering, picking up a PRISM award (first, second, or, most likely, third place) for Wicked Game in the Light Paranormal category. Then I'll be hopping off to the Pocket Books party. And Friday night, of course, will find me slamming the dance floor at the Harlequin party.  Other than that, I'll probably be catching up on sleep or work.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I'll be in the bar.


See you there!