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Velveteen: more glam than muslin

Win
As many of you know, new books come out on Tuesdays. There's lots of good stuff out today, and I wanted to give a shout-out to my pal Daniel Marks for his YA debut, Velveteen. If you need a dark and creepy read for the Halloween season, then this is your book.

velveteen


Velveteen Monroe--or Velvet, as she's usually called--is a 16-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered by a serial killer named Bonesaw. This lands Velvet in Purgatory, the in-between place for souls not quite ready for Heaven or Hell. Purgatory is a gray and dismal place where souls have to cover themselves with ashes so that they don't shine too brightly. Everyone has a job in Purgatory, and Velvet's is on a Salvage team (full of delightfully snarky characters) that retrieves souls. Velvet herself has her own share of snark, and she's also dark, feisty, and in-your-face. She's obsessed with the idea of haunting and taking revenge on her killer, something that's totally forbidden since souls aren't supposed to return and interact with the living. (If you read the first chapter on Amazon, you can see a scene of her sneaking back to trash Bonesaw's house). As she wrestles with her desire for revenge, she also finds herself getting caught up in secrets that are unraveling the very structure of Purgatory. Complicating things just as much is the introduction of a hot new guy on her team. Getting involved with him is problematic for a whole series of reasons, but if you look at the cover, you can understand her dilemma.

Here are some truths about Velveteen. It's absolutely one of the most original YA books out there right now. It's also one of the darkest and most disturbing--which is a pro or a con, depending on your personality. There's romance in there, yes, but don't pick this up thinking your getting a sweet and sunny love story. There are some really violent and graphic parts in there that made me squirm, so if that's not your thing, you may want to skip this one. But, if you like dark and morbid, then you'll love the characters and the incredibly complex world and society Daniel's created with Purgatory. Discovering its inner works is a big part of the book, and I'm amazed at how he was able to come up with something so detailed. He's also a really fabulous writer and uses metaphors and similes like...well, like someone who's really good at using metaphors and similes.

Daniel's also a pretty active and hilarious vlogger, so you can get a healthy share of his wit and wisdom over on his site. He even did a vlog about my office library during my Halloween party two years ago, right before Last Sacrifice came out. Good times. And finally, his site also lists his tour dates and locations, so if he'll be near where you live, you'll have a fun time listening to him read and say inappropriate things.

Enjoy!


Tinycat
Today, for my second ever guest post in the history of my blog, I'm turning control over to my friend Nicole Peeler. Nicole writes awesome urban fantasy books about a delightful selkie and, like me, read Jean Auel books in elementary school. (And now look what we do for a living). Which brings us to her topic...

On Age Appropriateness and Saucy Literature:
or, How Young is too Young?


When I was twelve-years-old, my mom went with me to the library to fill out a ream of papers that meant a black dot—a small black sticker—would be placed on my library card. You would have thought my mother was taking me to get a tattoo.

"Now, you're sure you want to do this?" the librarian asked my mother, Rella, for about the fourth time.

"Yes," said my mother politely, despite having said "yes" three times already.

"It means she can check out anything," the librarian repeated, eyeing me speculatively. "Absolutely anything."

"Yes," my mother said, clearly losing patience.

"I mean, she can check out things with, you know . . ." and here the woman whispered, "S-E-X."

To this day I don't know why that librarian spelled out the word sex, considering her issue was with my reading adult material. Presumably, I was past three letter words by that point.

My mom replied with what had become her stock response. With a daughter who was a precocious reader, she was constantly stuck defending her decision to let me have at it, rather than censor my reading.

"If she can understand what's going on, she's old enough to be confronted with the issues," my mother told that librarian, her voice admittedly rather weary. And just as always happened, the librarian looked at my mother like she just might be smoking the rock. My mother ignored her. As a special education teacher, Rella's a champion at picking her battles.

That a librarian, of all people, would begrudge a child reading didn't surprise my mom, at that point. She was past surprise at other people's reactions to a child reading adult books. After all, my mother had been so proud of my ability to read well at such a young age that she'd gone out of her way to challenge me—buying me books like A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet when I was in first grade. The trouble hit when I was in third grade, and reading things like Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear. My teacher nearly had a heart attack when it was the subject of my book report.

"The book you chose. It's very . . . adult," she said, holding my freshly submitted report by the corner like one would a soiled napkin.

I blinked up at her, confused. Wasn't I supposed to be reading stuff that I found difficult?

"You can't really understand it," she told me. "In fact, I think I need to call your mother…"

And she did call my mother. And we had another meeting, at which my mom asked me questions about the book, and then the teacher did. I babbled on about how Ayla was very brave, trying to be herself amongst people who didn't understand her and weren't like her. I talked about how it was very sad that she was a victim of prejudice by the same people who were dying out, because they were victims of prejudice.

Then my teacher brought up "the sex."

I remember turning a bright shade of tomato red, and I did what I usually did in those days when confronted with a subject I didn't want to discuss. I lied like a rug.

"Sex?" I said, large eyes even bigger. "There's sex in the book?"

My mother, undoubtedly smelling the load of hooey I'd just unloaded, gave me a long side-eye, but my teacher was pleased. "Good," she said. "Maybe you're right, Mrs. Peeler. She's obviously not seeing everything that's there, so that's fine."

At the time, I was just happy to be off the hook. Years later I would wonder at the wisdom of encouraging an absolute lack of curiosity about sex in young people. Granted, I was only in third grade. But my first friend to lose her virginity did so in seventh grade, only four years later.

Now I'm on the other side of the fence. I'm the adult, with people asking me "How young is too young?" Usually, they're asking about my own books, which are ostensibly for adults. But so was The Clan of the Cave Bear, and its sequel, The Valley of Horses, was definitely adult. And don't think I didn't immediately go home and read that, upon leaving my third grade teacher's office. I even think I wrote a book report on it, just to be ornery.

So I tell those readers who ask me if they should let their daughters read my books what my mom repeated, so many times in my youth. I say, "If you think you're ready to have any conversations that might come up; and you think that the book presents the issues in question in ways that you think are positive, healthy, or important, then by all means, pass it on."

We can't shield our children or our teenagers from sex, and we shouldn't try. Sex is a natural part of their life that they will be curious about, and that they are already confronted with daily—on television, in advertisements, in their music, and in their reading. Although I'm not a parent, I very much hope that my young niece is presented with positive images of healthy, happy sexuality to counteract all the negative, conflicted, and dangerous images that clutter up our culture.

Being well informed about the realities of sex—its dangers and its pleasures—means that girls will hopefully be more confident about sex and their own sexuality. And in a world where girls are constantly being undermined about their looks, their worth, and the value of their sexuality, confidence can give them the tools they need to build their own self-worth and self-understanding.

I think the value of these positive messages coming from books, specifically, is that there's so much of the girl's own imagination involved. Books allow a level of interactivity, self-study, and self-reflection that other forms of media do not.

Obviously, not all children or teens will be ready for adult material. Parents have to make those judgment calls for themselves, based on their own principles and their own knowledge of their child. But don't forget the educative potential in even the most entertaining of books, especially when it comes to those issues we are least comfortable discussing—either as the child or the parent.

I had a black dot, after all. And I turned out okay. ;-)

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter, in the meantime. How young is too young?

Nicole Peeler is a professor of English literature and creative writing at Seton Hill University, in Greensburg, PA. She also writes urban fantasy novels for Orbit Books. Her third novel, Tempest's Legacy, just hit shelves in January.

For those American readers interested in Nicole's fiction, Orbit Books is offering her first book,
Tempest Rising, as this month's Orbital Drop, downloadable on multiple platforms for only $2.99. Click here for more details.


This week (kind of) in books

German Shadow Kiss
Today is a great day because I sent in the Succubus Revealed manuscript to my editor. Like all manuscripts, it still needs polishing and editing, but the bulk of the work on it is done, which is a really wonderful feeling. And, in fate's funny way, I also just received a bunch of cover flats for SR, which really brings us full circle. My scanner's being a bit temperamental, but I should be able to have things up and running tomorrow so that you can see the cover to Georgina's last adventure.

I'm behind in giving shout-outs to all of my author pals who had new releases last week. Considering I was three days late in blogging about my own new release last week, I guess it's not that bad. Anyway, Iron Crowned was in very good company. Here's a quick rundown of what else is on the bookshelves.

In the world of adult paranormal fiction...



Green-Eyed Demon by Jaye Wells is the third book in the Sabina Kane series, featuring a half-vampire, half-mage kickass heroine. Her sidekick is a demon who looks like a hairless cat and--wait for it--actually has his own Twitter page. Jaye and I will be teaching a workshop in Dallas soon, so stay tuned for details.

Dead Waters by Anton Strout is the next installment in his Simon Canderous series. Simon has the blessing(?) of being a psychometrist, meaning when he touches something, he knows its history. New Yorkers can see Anton signing with Amber Benson at Midtown Comics Downtown on March 5 at 1pm.

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper Normally, I'd attempt some summary of my own, but nothing I could write is better than this blurb I found: "Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch." 'Nuff said.


And, over in the young adult section...



The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge Remember when I said iron books were hot? This is my pal Caitlin's much-anticipated steampunk YA debut about a girl fighting a family curse, which says she'll go insane on her 16th birthday. It's set in an alternate Lovecraftian Boston, where technology rules and all things magical are condemned...but certainly aren't gone.

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes Gwen's debut YA is actually out tomorrow, so I'm ahead of the game on this one. It's about a girl who literally meets a hot guy she's been dreaming about when he becomes a student at her school. Whether he's a dream come true or presents danger to her remains to be seen... Washingtonians can see Gwen read and sign in Seattle and Port Angeles.


Okay, there are tons more that came out last week (and this week), but that's what I've got for now. So if you're looking for reading material, plenty abounds! Tomorrow I'll have the next Georgina cover for you. :)


More cool news

Arrested Development Quote
Remember when I didn't have anything to blog about? Now it's like there's something every day! Here's today's cool news. The Vampire Academy series was nominated for one of Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards! I grew up with Nickelodeon, and this is just a huge, huge honor. Thank you, very much. Voting will open on March 1, and I'll mention it again then (all ages will get to vote!). For now, if you want to read more about the nomination and other parts of the awards, here's the link. Thank you so much for everyone's great support in helping the series get there.

I don't have any tours on the calendar right now, but there's a really great tour of five young adult authors who are visiting some U.S. cities this week. It's called the Breathless Reads Tour and features Andrea Creamer (Nightshade), Ally Condie (Matched), Kirsten Miller (The Eternal Ones), Beth Revis (Across the Universe), and Brenna Yovanoff (The Replacement). It's a really great chance to ask questions to lots of authors at once and get some books signed. Their full schedule is here, and they'll be in Denver tomorrow night (Friday the 11th), signing at the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover at 7pm.

Also in Denver tomorrow night is my good friend Mark Henry. He'll be reading and signing some zombie smut at the Broadway Book Mall at 7pm, so if you're looking for some dirty fun and very adult humor, check it out. If you're lucky, you might see Mario Acevedo lurking there too, along with some other Denver authors.

So, whichever way your mood is feeling tomorrow night, Denver, you have no reason not to get a literary experience!


Books of iron. Er, steel.

French Succubus Nights
If you like books with 'Iron' in the title (and who doesn't?), you'll notice that there are an awful lot of them coming out. Iron Crowned is in good company. Why the metal obsession? Well, in a lot of myths and stories, iron is the traditional bane to the supernatural. Iron can counteract magic in some beliefs, and you see remnants of that idea in old superstitions involving horseshoes and iron nails. So, it's not a surprise that in the paranormal genre, 'iron' has become a popular concept and title word, right along with other favorite themes like blood and shadows.

Anyway, amidst these iron-clad titles are a couple YAs by friends of mine. One is The Iron Witch by my favorite Tarot reader and London tour guide Karen Mahoney. TIW just came out this week in the U.S. and U.K. It's about a teen girl living with the legacy of being attacked by fairies when she was little. The fairies killed her father and did damage to her hands and arms that could only be repaired with magical iron tattoos. (Alchemy!) Naturally, this creates some problems with her when she's older. She has to face her past when fairies kidnap her best friend, forcing her to team up with a mysterious (and highly attractive) part-fey guy. Lots of good, dark fairy stuff here.

Next month, I'll talk about The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge, another awesome title that's coming out later in February.

And with that, I'm back to work! The Children's Choice Book Awards are still going on at Teenreads.com if you want to vote for Last Sacrifice, Spirit Bound, or any other 2010 YA title.

More updates coming soon!


Post-holiday round-up

Ceiling Cat!

Well, as the holiday season winds down toward the new year, I hope everyone is enjoying themselves, whatever you celebrate! I've been working semi-steadily since getting back from the tour but have still been able to spend time with friends and family.

And speaking of friends, a million things have happened with mine during this crazy month, and I've been woefully behind in updating everyone about their news.  I was going to write it up, but it turns out my pal and author of the amazing YA novel Hunger, Jackie Kessler, already did.  Hunger is definitely a book you should check out if you haven't already, and if you're a Georgina fan, you should also check out Jackie's Hell on Earth series.  Honestly, anything I write here about our mutual firends would just be a paltry rehashing of Jackie's blog, so she was kind enough to let me copy and paste all the news from hers straight into mine.  So, I can't take credit for this but am grateful for Jackie letting me borrow it.

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Copied from Jackie Kessler's Blog:

Okay, I have some major pimpage to make up for. I now present to you: Updates from the League of Reluctant Adults!

Over at Mario Acevedo and Jeanne Stein’s blog, The Biting Edge, they’ve been doing lots of things (minds out of the gutter, people): posting Weird Al Yankovic videos (bless ‘em!), interviewing the amazing Juliet Blackwell about her yet another new series, and so much more. And if you haven’t checked out Mario’s Felix Gomez adventures–in novels and in comic books–and Jeanne’s Anna Strong chronicles, you should. And congrats to Jeanne for CHOSEN being nominated for an RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy!

Michele Bardsley’s hysterical Broken Heart Vampires series keeps getting better and better! CROSS YOUR HEART came out earlier this year, and a series (Wizards! Witches! Rah!) will kick off in March 2011.

Leaguer Sonya Bateman also has a novel hitting the shelves in March 2011: MASTER AND APPRENTICE, the highly anticipated follow-up to this year’s MASTER OF NONE. If you think genies are all like Barbara Eden in a bottle, think again.

The ever amazing Dakota Cassidy launched a new series, the Ex-Trophy Wives. The first book, YOU DROPPED A BLONDE ON ME, hit the shelves earlier this month. Get thee to a bookstore and buy! Now!

This has been a great year for Carolyn Crane. The first two books of her Justine Jones: Disillusionist trilogy hit the shelves and wow, look at the awards that her second book, DOUBLE CROSS, has been nominated for: Goodreads Best Paranormal Fantasy of 2010, RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy, and Authors After Dark Best Fantasy! Congratulations, Carolyn!

Molly Harper will have a fourth Jane Jameson “Nice Girls Don’t” vampire book coming soon. But coming sooner (February 2011) will be her first werewolf book, HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF. Preorder now!

Kevin Hearne, author of the upcoming Iron Druid chronicles, is eagerly looking forward to the book birthdays of HOUNDED (April 2011), HEXED (May 2011) and HAMMERED (June 2011). What’s that? You don’t want to wait until April? Lucky for you that Kevin has a FREE STORY set in the HOUNDED world, right here on Suvudu. Enjoy!

Mark Henry’s Amanda Feral has been a busy zombie deadutante. First, she’s up for an RT Reviewers Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy Protagonist. And she’s also Mark’s pen name for a super naughty novella called “A Stocking Full of Coal.” [Note: this is VERY adult stuff].

Have you read Stacia Kane’s amazing Downside series? If not, WHY THE HELL NOT? I don’t know who I love more, Chess Putnam or super enforcer Terrible. Run, don’t walk, to buy, not borrow, UNHOLY GHOSTS, UNHOLY MAGIC and CITY OF GHOSTS (nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy). And hey, Stacia is up for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Goodreads Author! Rock on! And make sure to download her free short story about Haunted Week!

My Icarus Project coauthor, Caitlin Kittredge, has been damn busy. I know, surprise, surprise. The third book her her Black London series, BONE GODS, came out at the end of November, and she’s working on the fourth book now as well as preparing for her YA debut, THE IRON THORN, first book in The Iron Codex. It hits the shelves in February 2011, and you can (and should) preorder now.

The third book of J.F. Lewis’s Void City series, CROSSED, comes out in January 2011! And did you know you could get “Welcome to the VOID” t-shirts? You can! Author clothing line, proudly sponsored by the League of Reluctant Adults!

One day, I’m sure that Richelle Mead will hit the big time. Until then, you may want to check out her little-known series, Vampire Academy. Oh–sorry, I must have bamfed over to a parallel universe or something, because we all know that the last book in the first VA series, LAST SACRIFICE, came out earlier this month and made serious waves. Congrats, Richelle!

If you’re a fan of Kelly Meding’s Dreg City series like I am, you’ll be happy to know that she’s got a collaborative story, written with Lara Adrian, Harry Connolly, Lucy A. Snyder and the League’s Stacia Kane, available now as an e-book! The third Dreg City book, ANOTHER KIND OF DEAD, will hit the shelves in July 2011.

Nicole Peeler has been making waves with her sexy selkie Jane True. Her upcoming January 2011 release, TEMPEST’S LEGACY, is an RT Top Pick, huzzah! And in January, you can get all three Tempest audiobooks. Nicole’s got tons of terrific reviews for LEGACY, so hop over to her website and check them out! And then go buy the book!

DREADNOUGHT, the sequel to Cherie Priest’s multiple award-winning steampunk novel BONESHAKER, came out earlier this year. Coming in 2011: GANYMEDE, the third book in the Clockwork Century, as well as the launch of her new urban fantasy series, BLOODSHOT.

The fifth book in Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series, LABYRINTH, came out in August, and the next book, DOWNPOUR, will hit the shelves in summer 2011. Can’t wait for more Harper Blaine!

Michelle Rowen has been OMGBUSY this year! She launched the Living In Eden series with THE DEMON IN ME, and the second book, SOMETHING WICKED, just came out in November. The second book in her YA Demon Princess series, REIGN CHECK, hit the shelves in May, and she had a YA short story appear in KISS ME DEADLY. In case smoking-hot contemporary romance is what you’re looking for, check out her other November release, TOUCH AND GO. And the first book in an all-new vampire series, NIGHTSHADE, comes out in February 2011! Huzzah, Michelle!

Diana Rowland’s third book in her Kara Gillian, Demon Summoner series, SECRETS OF THE DEMON, hits the shelves at the start of January! What better way to kick off a new year than with a new Kara story? Preorder now!

Have you read K.A. Stewart’s A DEVIL IN THE DETAILS yet? This urban fantasy debut earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, saying: “This crackling series launch hits the trifecta of strong story, characters, and prose. Jesse James Dawson is a retail clerk, a samurai, a redneck brawler, a good husband and father, and a Champion: a demon slayer who fights to free repentant souls from hastily entered contracts.” I’m telling you, books make **terrific** presents.

Anton Strout and I both have stories in the upcoming AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE UR-BAR. Mine is a Hell short story, and his is set in his Simon Canderous series. But hey, that’s in March. Before that, in February, pick up book 4 of the series, DEAD WATERS. It’s hard to fight evil on a budget.

The third book in Jaye Wells’s acclaimed Sabina Kane series, GREEN-EYED DEMON, hits the shelves in March 2011! If you haven’t read RED-HEADED STEPCHILD and THE MAGE IN BLACK, do so. Now.

And that’s the latest about the crazy folks in the League of Reluctant Adults.

Whew.

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Thanks, Jackie! Everyone else, happy holidays, and I'll be back with more updates about my own stuff soon.


What's new?

Korean VA
I've been blog-absent recently, largely because I haven't had too much news to share. I still don't have a huge amount, but I've got a little something. I've also got lots to report about some of my author friends. First, I'll get me out of the way.

The cities and dates for the Last Sacrifice tour have been determined, but I can't announce them until my publisher has all the details hammered out, which...drumroll...should be next week! So, think of this as an announcement of an upcoming announcement. They've got me going to a wide range of U.S. cities, and while it's impossible to visit every city on every tour, I think this'll make a lot of people happy. Stay tuned for next week! I also found out that even some bookstores I'm not touring at will still be having release day parties, so I'll try to get that list too.

The other news is about the first chapter of Last Sacrifice. My publisher is in charge of when it'll be available, and they've decided this time to put it out around the fourth week of November. That's later than usual, but since sometimes excerpt aren't allowed at all from new books, I'm glad we're able to have any sneak-peek at all. When I hear more details about its posting date, I'll definitely let you know.

Meanwhile, let's talk about books that ARE out. Because this has been a hot week, and a lot of my friends have new releases. Like...


Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler

Jackie's a long-time pal of mine and one of the reasons I wrote Vampire Academy. I had actually started writing it early in 2006 (though it looked nothing like the VA we know today) and quit because it was turning into a mess. Later that year, Jackie started writing a young adult book, and I got inspired by how excited and passionate she was. So, I dug out VA and totally reworked it. I owe Jackie a lot! Hunger is a really great book, though it's not for the faint of heart. It's about an anorexic teen girl who becomes one of the four riders of the Apocalypse, and Jackie isn't afraid to delve into the ugly details of eating disorders. It's still funny and action-packed, but the overall message is serious and a definite eye-opener. I'm kind of a snob when it comes to books. A novel can have the best idea in the world, but if the writing sucks, I won't read it. Jackie is such a good writer that she could write about the most boring topic ever, and it would still be interesting. Fortunately, she has awesome ideas, so this is a must-read.



Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Let's not even talk about the story for a minute. Can I just say I'm in love with the cover alone? Also, I've always wanted to name a book Nightshade, so I have double-love going on here. Andrea's a fellow redhead and Razorbill author and was my New York travel buddy at BookExpo earlier this year. She's super nice and has all sorts of cool things going on in Nightshade, like werewolves, arranged marriage, and forbidden love. Sold yet? If not, I should add that Andrea's book was also challenged in a school before it even came out, just like Last Sacrifice was. In Andrea's case, the book was protested by a parent who hadn't read it (how could she have?) but who had heard that Andrea supported another banned author. That's just crazy talk. You can read Andrea's commentary on it (and the recap of my own banning) over at this Huffington Post article





Ghost Town by Rachel Caine

Last but not least, the next installment of the Morganville Vampires is coming out this week! This is one of my favorite vampire series, which is saying something because...well, I won't lie. When you write vampire fiction for a living, you don't like reading it for fun. But I love this series, and Rachel has been kind and supportive to me since before my very first book ever came out. She also let me feast on Girl Scout Cookies the last time I was at her house in Texas. Rachel's going to be touring this week and next for the new book, and she's making a pretty good sweep around the country. You can see her tour schedule here and should go out and see her if she's coming near you because she is delightful. It's a sad irony that I have a conflict when she's signing here in Seattle, but I'm hoping to still say hi to her while she's in town. Good times.



And that's the news so far! Big things should be coming soon. Check back!


Japanese Vampire Academy
Well, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've probably already heard me shout it from the rooftops: we have some big news today about Spirit Bound. On Monday, we found out that it had hit #1 on the USA Today bestseller list. Today, we found out that it made #1 on Australia's bestseller list and #1 on the New York Times series bestseller list. You guys. That is insane. You have no idea how unreal it all feels, and really, I can't keep doing anything except thanking all of my readers. It probably sounds like such a cliche, but I'm serious. You guys are the ones who read what I write and help my books get these incredible stats. You guys also make me want to keep writing more.

Today I had another panel at Book Expo in New York City, this time on paranormal YA fiction--a topic I feel pretty knowledgeable about. I was with authors Holly Black, Ivy Devlin, and Andrea Cremer. They were an awesome group to hang out with. Later, I did a signing at BEA, which was a lot different from one of my bookstore ones. It was a fast and furious line of people, with no posed pictures, and pretty much only involved signing Spirit Bound. Even that 30 seconds per person gave me time to chat and learn where people were from, so I had fun. Afterward, I had more author awesomeness when I ran into Holly Black again, this time hanging out with Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier.



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After BEA duties, I went to a dinner with some other Penguin authors and execs, editors, etc. at the company. It was great timing because a lot of the people there were ones who've helped get Spirit Bound where it is--so again, many thanks to them. Erin Dempsey is one such person, flanked here by author pals Heather Brewer and Andrea Cremer. For those who haven't heard of Andrea, just wait until October.



In retrospect, I realize I dropped the ball on taking a lot of pictures today. I should have gotten some shots of the BEA floor, to give you an idea of what a massive convention this is and how crazy crowded it is. I should have gotten shots of the signing line and panel too--especially since I was sitting right next to John Flanagan, author of the Rangers series, at my signing. Cue fangirl. Getting a picture of Diana Peterfreund, author of Rampant, while we waited in line for the bathroom would have also been good. It probably wouldn't have hurt to get a few more pics at the Penguin dinner, like of my editors or when the Young Readers group president gave a really nice speech about how we're all in the business of sharing stories.

But, no. I didn't get any of those. I did, however, get this evidence of FLEET WEEK in New York City:



Yes, Fleet Week. It's an annual event when lots of Navy and other armed forces ships dock in the city for ship tours and exhibitions, while sailors get out and about. I'd never heard of this until about 10 hours ago, so imagine my surprise when right away, lo! Sailors (in a generic sense, that is. I know there are different military designations).

And of course, where there are sailors, there are...pirates!



Okay, actually the pirates were nowhere near the armed forces sailors. This pirate was at BEA. Why? I'm not really sure. But when my agent Jim and I walked by, we knew that if I didn't go back and ask for a picture, I would later regret it. Interestingly, in the upper left-hand corner, there appears to be a very good imitation of Heather Brewer (check picture further back). I thought for sure it was, but I don't think it's possible to get a shot of Heather without the Vladimir Todd logo. Since I don't see it, I'm going to assume this is just a good approximation. Really, it's a tough call.

What isn't a tough call is that I've had an amazing nine days promoting Spirit Bound and meeting people all over the country. I'm homesick for my husband and cats but have had such an amazing time visiting all these cities and experiencing such groundbreaking moments in my career. I fly out in the afternoon and will be back home in Seattle tomorrow night, which I'm really looking forward to. It's time to see my loved ones and get back to work! Thanks again, everyone, for such a fantastic time. Talk to you soon from Seattle.


The big ol' con picture post

Little Dhampir
Well, it's the last day of the RT convention, and most people are gone. My friends and I are a few of the lingering attendees and will fly home tomorrow. Most con activities are done too, and those of us here are a weary lot. After a few days of radio silence, I finally have time to post all my awesome pics from the con, which means there are going to be A LOT. Brace yourselves and get a fast internet connection. For your convenience, I've decided to use headings.

THE FAERY COURT

Yes, let's jump right in since I've been promising this for a while. RT goers know that every year, there's a "faery ball" dinner, with dancing and costume contests and other good times. This year, I was part of the hosting court itself, meaning I got to hang out on stage with this group:



Which one am I? Let's take a closer look.



That's me, posing with author Barry Eisler, who has the honor of being the first guy to be on the court. Both of us de-winged for dinner, but as you can see, he still got into the fairy spirit:



Also on the court was my pal Stacia Kane. The fairies were divided up by element, and we thought it'd be cool to do fire and ice--creating a difficult task since in real life, I'm a redhead and she's a platinum blonde.



My dress was modified by the fab Caitlin Kittredge who spent long hours in my room sewing and teaching me about WWII.



BUSINESS TIME

To prove that the con isn't all about dressing up and socializing (not that you'll be able to tell as the rest of this post goes on), I figured I should show that we do actually do some serious author stuff here. Here's a steampunk panel, with my friends looking raptly on as someone apparently makes a compelling point.



Some authors got very passionate on panels, like the wonderful and gorgeous Vicki Pettersson, who must be threatening to crush those who get in her way.



We also did this thing called Club RT, which is a kind of author meet-and-greet. My friends and I signed up for the same time so that we could all hang out together and chat with readers en masse. Mark Henry was especially entertaining.



EVENING ENTERTAINMENT

If you thought the faery ball was the only extravagant show going on during this con, you thought wrong. Every year, there's also a vampire ball, which is notable for its dinner theatre musical stage show, put on by author Heather Graham and family/friends. This year's show was a murder mystery that combined Alice in Wonderland, Twilight, True Blood, and Dexter. With Lady Gaga music.



And, of course, the RT con wouldn't be complete without the infamous Mr. Romance pageant, which was run really well this year. Like the above pic, it was hard to get a good shot of anything on stage, but I think this picture will pretty much tell you what you need to know.



BOOK FAIR AND SIGNING

Saturday was the big book fair, where all the authors are put into a giant room to sign and sell books. It's open to the public, and I had a really, really amazing turnout. Everyone seemed really surprised by this, and my starting table wasn't adequate to handle the numbers who came (~300). I wasn't so surprised because I often get 100-200 people at bookstore signings, and lots of non-con people had told me online they were coming. But this con is geared more toward those writing adult romance, so my YA (and adult) crowd was a bit unexpected.



Now, before I sound like an egotistical brat, let me clarify: I had nowhere near the number of fans as heavy hitters like Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, and JR Ward. But, I did have to be moved to an area with more space. My pal Heather Osborn, editor at Tor, kindly jumped in to play impromptu publicist and helped manage the line by writing people's names on post-its and keeping things moving.



I'm super grateful for Heather's help and to all the readers who came out. As often happens, we had a lot of homemade VA shirts!



Some even got their moms to dress up:



There were a lot of t-shirt pics that didn't come out very well, so if you don't see yours here, don't take offense. All were awesome. Thanks for dressing up!



All in all, a great turn-out with great people. Thanks so much to those who came out (some from really far away)! I loved meeting you all. Thanks also to the RT staff who were so quick to accommodate and help with the surprise line. Good times.

COOL PEOPLE I KNOW

And yes, as I've often said, RT is all about networking and being with people you haven't seen in a while. Here's the awesome line-up of friends I got to hang out with this week.

First up: Kat Richardson. Okay, it's true I do see her often because she lives in Seattle (and traveled here with me), but I think this is a glamorous shot and like it.



People who like humorous vampire pics will recognize Michele Bardsley, who kindly opened up her room for a party on Saturday night. Mario Acevedo is trying to get in on our picture.



Rock Band was going on at the party, and here Michele plays drums while Heather sings and Michelle Rowen plays guitar.



My agent Jim McCarthy was coaxed to come to the con too, so it was great hanging out with him. If you love my books, you should love Jim because he's the one responsible for seeing that they get sold to publishers.



Redhead author Diana Rowland came here from New Orleans and brought along...a friend, affectionately dubbed Creepy Doll who appears unexpectedly in scary places, like people's beds. Creepy Doll also has her own Twitter account now if you want to follow some freaky updates.



Caitlin's been introduced around here a few times already, but I like this shot of us.



We're all such dorks that when we get together, my author friends and I sit around and read romance books aloud (particularly their racy parts). You've never seen anything more ridiculous than 25 adults huddled together, giggling and shrieking like kids over bad words. We got noise complaints from the hotel. Stacia is one of the best and most dramatic readers.




Anddddd...I think that's a wrap! Like I said, most of us are too tired to do much today, but I'll post anything else that comes along. Tomorrow we fly back to Seattle, and I'll get back to that writing thing I do.


Wide awake and dreaming

Diversity Kittens
So, Romantic Times kicked off for real today, though admittedly, it was a slow start. That was because instead of downing two vitamins when I got out of bed this morning, I actually took two of the pills I take at night to sleep. How many do I usually take to sleep? One. So, yeah. You can imagine my panic when I realized that and began to feel woozy 20 minutes before my first panel of the day. Fortunately, Kat Richardson was ready with coffee for me, and it was amazing how far that went to keep me coherent. Author Holly Black said I sounded "really wise" on the panel. Not sure if that was the drugs or me, but it all worked out.

Later today, a Fairy Crisis ensued when technicalities with my costume (details tomorrow) arose in the form of no wings. Caitlin Kittredge kindly drove through the dangerous streets of Columbus to find me some at a costume store and has even been kind enough to help put the final touches on it.

Another panel followed, then a great dinner with some ladies at Kensington (Georgina's publisher). After that, things got a little weird. I chose to hang out with a bunch of friends in the hotel bar rather than go to the party with scantily clad male entertainment. Caitlin Kittredge popped in to check it out and came out with a center piece that she may or may not have had permission to take.



Michelle Rowen and I posed for this shot, so our agent can add it to his scrapbook.



Jackie Kessler and Heather Brewer apparently had some serious author stuff to do.



Then...the life of the party showed up. Or maybe lack of life. Stacia Kane, while going out for a cigarette, made friends with one of the undertakers who were having their convention at our hotel. He brought his friends in who taught us about embalming fluid and let us pose for pictures. They told us we didn't need the Mr. Romance pageant. They were the real Mr. Romances.



Drunken undertakers are a sight to behold, let me tell you. They hung out with us for a while before Caitlin and I wandered off for more fairy arts and crafts times. On our way to my room, I told people we passed that the undertakers were taking pics, but no one was as excited as we were. We also passed a couple of male cover models who told me they liked my red hair and that they liked how tall Caitlin is. Oh, those silver-tongued devils.

Anyway, I apologize to everyone for not going to the sexy guy dancer party and getting photos for you, but I will have pictures of me dressed as a fairy tomorrow, so I hope that makes up for it. And, just to keep reminding you, it's the last week to vote for Blood Promise over at the Children's Book Council Awards in the teen section!

More tomorrow!


*ATTENTION:
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I have red hair and subsist entirely on Kona coffee.

Other crucial information--such as my books, background, and appearances--can be found by clicking the links below.

Please note: I am HOPELESSLY behind in responding to e-mails and LJ comments right now. Be patient as I catch up!

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