Friday, December 28, 2012

Delilah's Yearly Book Round-up

A year's worth of reading:

For Nook:
Believe It or Not - Tawna Fenske
The Gift - Tiffany Reisz
Tarnished - Karina Cooper
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
The Siren - Tiffany Reisz
Bewere the Night - Anthology
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar - Kate Cross
Riveted - Meljean Brook
Grave Dance - Kalayna Price
Dance with the Devil - Sherrilyn Kenyon
Fantasy Lover - Sherrilyn Kenyon
Timeless - Gail Carriger
Savage Shores - Ema Wildes
Incomparable - Emma Wildes
Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin
City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare
Fifty Shades Darker - EL James
The Goblin King - Shona Husk
Fire Lord's Lover - Kathryne Kennedy
Dark Lover - J.R. Ward

Hard Copy:
Blood and Bullets - James R. Tuck
Blood and Silver - James R. Tuck
Grave Witch - Kalayna Price
Grave Memory - Kalayna Price
Clean - Alex Hughes
The Prince - Tiffany Reisz
Redshirts - John Scalzi
Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris
Sweetly - Jackson Pearce
Across the Universe - Beth Revis
Shine - Lauren Myracle
The Taker - Alma Katsu
Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig
The Replacement - Brenna Yavonoff
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Incarnate - Jodi Meadows
So Yesterday - Scott Westerfeld
Wither - Lauren DeStefano
The Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater
The Near Witch - Victoria Schwab
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Under the Never Sky - Victoria Rossi
Clockwork Prince - Cassanda Clare
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Paper Towns - John Green
Looking for Alaska - John Green
Gone Gone Gone - Hannah Moskowitz
One Whisper Away - Emma Wildes
Fifty Shades of Grey - EL James
Enclave - Ann Aguirre
The Immortals - JT Ellison
Virtuosity - Jessica Martinez
Posession - Elana Johnson
Her and Me and You - Lauren Strasnick
Saga - Brian K. Vaughan

1. Last year, my Nook books far outweighed hard copy (list can be found here). This year, hard copy is up. Why? Because I've had the chance to collect signed books by friends and authors I admire and meet at cons.
2. Concentration is on YA, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. Why? Because that's what I write. I need to stay abreast of what's hot in my genres.
3. Twitter is still my #1 way of finding new books and authors. For example, I won ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre in a Twitter contest and really enjoyed it.
4. I'm not including non-fiction, but the focus was on psychology, influence, and the singularity.
5. Why so few books? Because this year, I wrote Wicked as She Wants (110k), The Mysterious Madam Morpho (31k), The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance (38k), The Damsel and the Daggerman (32k), The Three Lives of Lydia (10k), the first 40k of Wicked After Midnight, plus 2 more secret books and a big revision on Servants of the Storm.

The Scorpio Races - Really struck me. So lyrical and mythical and unique for a standalone YA. I loved her book trailer, but for some reason, it didn't entice me to buy. So glad I did!
Masque of the Red Death - Read in one sitting while at the beach. Truly arresting.
The Prince - Actually, the entire Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz. It's BDSM erotica, but the characters and writing are what really draw you in. So well done.
The Fault in Our Stars - I don't like drama and sadness, but it was so beautiful that I couldn't resist. This one should be required reading in high school. I cried like a baby.
Saga - I haven't been into comics in years, but this one is fantastic. Great concept, great drawings. So refreshing to see fierce motherhood in print.

And a shout-out to author Brady Allen, whom I met at FandomFest in Louisville. He read a story aloud-- I believe it was called Slow Mary, and it really stuck with me, which is rare. I don't normally like hearing stories read aloud. I hear it's part of his Back Roads and Frontal Lobes collection.

* * *

So what was your favorite book this year?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Have a evil Christmas!

Christmas is...

St. Germain by the fire with friends under the watchful eye of Jupiter and billions of stars.

Finding the perfect shirt... and giving it away.

Trying new things, even if they're made of lichen and might kill you.

A big-ass tree, tons of presents, and huge smiles.

Being so happy that you don't care if your hair is as wild as a mongoose on speed and you're not wearing make-up and you're sporting a Jedi sweater, because your daughter is really, really excited about her new earmuffs.

Hanging with family, even when it gets a little surreal, because you're Southern, and that's part of the deal, and it's wonderful, and the food is delicious. Having a beautiful day, laughing, with four generations.

And then coming back home to read a good book, curled up in a sunbeam with a cat on your legs and a child at your feet, reading her own book. See?


Not minding that your stocking is empty because...

...your son gave you his Boba Fett.

"Betause he's your favorite guy, mama," he said.

"NO YOU ARE!!!" I screeched and tried not to flail too much.

And also because... already got what you wanted most, and it doesn't fit in a stocking.

And Christmas is looking forward to the new year, and hoping you'll find as much happiness as you did this year. And pledging to kick as much ass as possible.

There's no Christmas in Sang, but who cares? IT'S CASPER.

And so, along with my daughter, I hope you:

* * *

Friday, December 21, 2012

Anthropologie and Hautelook: No shoes for you!

What do we want?


When do we want it?


Here's why I'm angry:

1. Just yesterday, I received an email from Anthropologie regarding a pair of shoes I ordered on 12/13. It was a cancelation report with no further info. My follow-up WTH, GUYS? email revealed the following:

"Unfortunately, the Furina Mary-Janes were not available at the time your order was being processed and has been canceled from your order. Please note that no charges were processed to your card for this item."

So, basically, I ordered and paid, and they didn't follow up with their half of the transaction. No real apology. No attempt at making it right. Just NO SHOES FOR YOU.

I might be a little more understanding if it hadn't happened with:

2. Hautelook, where I ordered a William Rast leather jacket and had the same thing happen. I order something available, I pay for it, and weeks later, I get a notification that they didn't have enough in stock and I therefore don't get my order. At least Hautelook gave me a lousy $10 credit for my annoyance. 

The only problem with that $10 credit is that I used it toward:

3. A pair of thigh-high, size 8.5, gray leather NYLA button-up boots. And when they arrived, what was in the box? A pair of knee-high, size 8, black fake leather stiletto hooker boots that had obviously been worn several times by a chain-smoking hooker. The smell of perfume, cigarettes, and body odor was so bad that I had to tape the box shut before mailing them back. 

And then they gave me more store credit, because obviously I trust them with my money.

* * *

The point here is that ONLINE SHOPPING HULK SMASH. It's pretty simple: you make the number of objects you have available online and sell that many. It's infuriating, the way that I spend days carefully selecting an item, make the heartfelt commitment to buying it, wait excitedly, and then get these utterly blasé, unapologetic notices that fetch is not going to happen. I mean, there used to be some level of empathy, some indication that they cared that they had damaged their own reputation and left you disappointed. Now, it's just a slap in the face.

I'm not a shopping girl. I don't go to stores and try on things and walk around the mall, swinging fancy bags. I freaking AGONIZE over these purchases, and I keep my special, fancy shoes on display and only wear them when the weather is ideal. I loved that leather jacket, and I loved those shoes, and now both of these online retailers have lost my trust. 

Hautelook, I expect this from you now. But Anthropologie, I thought you were one of the good guys. I thought you would take care of me. Looks like I was wrong.

We went to online retailers because we couldn't get what we needed from actual stores. If we can't trust online retailers, where will we go next?

* * *

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

hello, Polly.

Consider me... distracted.

There's dirt under my fingernails for the first time in years,
and my boots are at the bottom of the stairs, dusted with mud.
I had to roll up my favorite jeans to keep the hems from dragging in the field.
And I smell, faintly, of horse and saddle oil.
Also, I found a carrot in my pocket earlier. 
It was happy to see me.

One of my defining characteristics is adaptability. 
Looks like I'm a cowgirl again, at least when 
I put on the right costume and take out my dangly earrings.

It feels good, getting a little dirty.

* * *

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Next Big Thing

The ever-marvelous Cherie Priest tagged me for The Next Big Thing. 

So here's my big thing.


Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and listening to the album Like Vines by the Hush Sound, and then one night I had a very vivid dream about waking up naked on a rock in the woods with this fellow in a top hat staring at me. Turns out that's the scene where Tish meets Criminy. The book is heavily influenced by that album, including several key plot points. And Criminy sounds like Spike, if you listen just right.

What genre does your book fall under?
It's billed as Paranormal Romance, but it was originally written as a straight paranormal with the sex scenes added later. That means it's readable for dudes and girls who aren't into bodice rippers, too-- and if I'm signing it, I'm always happy to draw a waistcoat, shirt, and cravat to cover up those pesky nipples.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Criminy would be Johnny Depp as directed by Tim Burton, or maybe Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Tish is harder to pin down, though. Maybe Ashley Green? Tabitha would be Christina Ricci.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
An Atlanta nurse wakes up in an alternate world where most of the animals and half of the humans are blood drinkers; steampunk adventures and sexytimes ensue.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The Blud series includes three books and three e-novellas, published by Pocket/Simon & Schuster.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft took about a month and a half, but the revisions took FOREVER.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Iron Seas by Meljean Brook; The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger; The Cherry St. Croix series by Karina Cooper.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
It all came from that one dream. I was obsessed with the guy, who was a circus ringmaster and magician and thief, not your usual alpha male but still dashing, dark, and dangerous.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The rabbits and horses eat people. The reviews are very generous about the world-building, and the ladies love the Criminy Stain.

* * *

Saturday, December 15, 2012

dreams come true (again)

If you search this blog for the word "horse", you'll see a lifelong love deferred.

And tomorrow, hopefully, you'll see me very, very happy.

I think I'm gonna buy this horse...

* * *

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

a day well spent with #ThorontheFloor

Today, some people did great things. 
They rescued babies from burning buildings, 
saved lives on the operating table, 
or brought us one step closer to curing cancer.

Here's what I did.

It started here:

And then, like the world snake, it just kept going. And getting slimier.

I think I finally know how Jim felt on The Office when he took all those nickels out of Dwight's phone.

And you know what tomorrow is, right?


* * *

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Stupid Human Tricks #1

I also perform live.

Back to writing.

And wine.

* * *

a little memory for a white day

A very long time ago, a boy took me to a park by a river.

It was a day much like today, with an opaque white sky and trees like black bone fingers and a cold that's insidious-- very still, very creeping. We walked down a long hill diagonally, slipping on wet, brown leaves that crumpled over to show fire-bright bellies. When we reached the river, he turned left, and I followed, because I'd never been there before and I didn't entirely trust him. The path along the water's edge was worn, the current's flow beside us thick and sluggish like honey on a winter morning. There were things I wanted to do-- trees to climb; branches to walk along, arms extended; promising holes to poke, hunting for sleeping snakes. But he had long legs, and I was curious, so I hurried along behind him.

He had promised to show me something special.

We came to a cavern scattered with ashes, and I balked two steps beyond the overhang. He wasn't the sort of boy I would follow into a cave. Instead, he showed me the path to the side, as the secret wasn't inward, but skyward You had to claw your way up that rock, scrabbling at roots and seedlings and crags in the stone, digging in your toes and never minding your ragged nails. I was breathless when I dragged myself up onto the ledge, and I remember still the deathly cold of the stone against my belly, leaving a wet spot on my shirt.

I was young, then, and it felt like I stood on top of the forest, looking down on everyone and everything. It was dizzying, knowing there was nothing there to hold onto, nothing to catch my fall if I followed that silly siren whisper that always urges leaping. I eventually tired of daring myself and sunk to the ground beside him, letting the cold soak through my jeans and into the raw meat of me, into my bones. We sat close enough to share the barest brush of warmth and yet so very far away. If we spoke, I don't remember it. The boy was less important than the place, than the moment. I dumped him shortly after that.

But I think that was the day I learned the value of letting go, of welcoming the cold. Being warm is fine and good, but there's something to be said for nerves entirely awake, for gooseflesh and blood hungry for heat. For being open to whatever wildness wants in.

If life is a process of waking up, slowly... then that day I suppose I opened one eye.

The last time I went back to that park, the day was sunny and warm. The cavern was smaller and dirtier, the climb easier, the ledge lower than I remembered. I knew my way, could see the trail so easily. The boy died last year, I heard, and I haven't been back since.

And that's why I didn't wear a coat today.

I wanted to feel the cold.

It keeps me awake.

* * *

Monday, December 10, 2012

presenting... The Peculiar Pets of Miss Pleasance!

The second e-novella in the Blud series is out April 2013, 
just before book 2, WICKED AS SHE WANTS.

I'll wait to see the official synopsis, but let's just say that this one includes Casper, a London shopkeep with a soft heart for broken things, and a hero who can basically be summed up as Thor in a kilt.

If you like the bludbunnies, you're going to love the murderous critters in this one. Promise.

* * *

cover reveal!

Not here, silly.

At least, not until Wednesday.

You have to skip over to All Things Urban Fantasy to see what the ever-marvelous Tony Mauro has concocted for the CARNIEPUNK anthology due out from Pocket next July.

My story is a Sangish turn on Lydia the Tattooed Lady.

If you dig, you can add it on Goodreads here or preorder it on Amazon here.

Because we all want to run away with the circus, right?

* * *

Saturday, December 8, 2012

the beauty of alone

So all of my pics from the last three days look about like this one: part of my face, badly focused. It's hard to take pics of yourself with a phone, even with the camera turned around.

See, I grew up an only child, but I never really liked being alone. Didn't like staying home alone, didn't like eating meals alone, definitely hated sleeping alone. But now, as an adult, I cherish my alone time, especially when traveling.

Maybe it has something to do with not having siblings, but I like not having to ask someone else's opinion. Say, for example, I found myself at Walt Disney World with a Park Hopper pass and a magic Fast Pass and an open schedule. I might have an omelet in the restaurant at 8:30, be at Animal Kingdom when it opens at 9am, ride four rides, skip over to a press event at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, get dropped off at Magic Kingdom, ride all the roller coasters, then zip over to Epcot to hang with a friend and attend a giant party. You can't do that with a caucus. And you can't do it with your kids in tow, either.

I have these little moments, when I'm alone. Because I'm alone. Like the other night, when I was engulfed by a crowd in the Epcot exit area and ended up in the middle of a high school chorus singing Gloria in Excelsis Deo as they walked to the parking lot under the stars. It was magical and beautiful, and I was totally lost and nearly ended up on a bus back to Indiana with the cast of Glee 2. But it wouldn't have happened if I'd been in a group.

Sometimes, I feel like I don't create as many memories as I used to, like time is moving too fast. Then I get away, alone, and realize that it's easier to make memories when you're focused on yourself and the moment. Taking care of children, especially, seems to break up my consciousness such that I barely remember anything. Having some mental space is so refreshing. I need to feel things.

I'm sick and on Nyquil and rambling, but I guess what I'm saying is this: if you have small children, please consider it a mental health imperative to get away from them and have adventures of your own. Move bravely through the world, considering no one's interests but yours. Follow your mind, your heart, your nose, your curiosity. As important as family and parenthood are, there's still a value to personhood and experiencing new things.

So... go have an adventure or something.

* * *

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

housekeeping and the giant mouse

1. I'm currently at Disneyworld on behalf of Cool Mom Tech and Chevy, enjoying the new Test Track at Epcot and the new Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. They gave me mouse ears. Did you know mouse ears go with everything? I am the happiest girl on earth, especially since today I got to ride all sorts of roller coasters, flying pachyderms, and towers of terror. To see more pics including one of me in an angry wompa hat, check my Twitter feed.

2. Sorry I haven't posted much. I've been busy with deadlines. That's probably not going to slow down for a while, if ever. Which is awesome. But kind of crazy. More and more, it seems like Twitter is performing the function of my blog, and I'm not sure yet how I feel about that.

3. We should have a cover for THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE soon. That's the 3nd Blud e-novella, due March 2013 from Pocket Star. The dude is kinda like Thor as a firefighter in a kilt.

4. Just a big ol' thank you to everyone who liked my books on Amazon, reviewed them anywhere, added them on Goodreads, or mentioned them to a friend. It means so much!

5. If you'd like a signed book for the holidays, please contact FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, GA, my hometown indie. I'm happy to personalize, including drawing pretty much any blud animal you want inside or giving Criminy a dapper shirt and waistcoat in case you'd like to give it to a friend without a glistening chest and glaring nipples.

Anything else? I don't know. I ate a lot of macarons. Ask, and I'll answer.

love, d.