Monday, November 22, 2010

Award Nomination

Hey All,

NICE GIRLS DON'T LIVE FOREVER has been nominated for RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice 2010 Paranormal Fiction Award.

Phew! That's hard to say.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kentucky Book Fair

I will be signing at the KY Book fair, November 13th, 2010 at the Frankfort Convention Center, 405 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY. Hours are 9 to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

English Translation of Article in Love Letters

On Showing Your Characters Who Is Boss:

The problem with people that exist only in your head is that eventually, they become real to you.

I’ve been working with the characters of Half-Moon Hollow longer than I’ve worked with any other “cast” of fictional friends. Vampire librarian Jane Jameson was the first heroine I’ve ever successfully brought to life, and her wacky band of brethren are very dear to me. Each of her friends was designed with a specific task or role in Jane’s life. Hunky sire Gabriel saves Jane from a life half-lived. Her human best friend, Zeb, keeps Jane in touch with her human side. The not-quite-reputable vampire Dick Cheney prevents her from taking herself too seriously.

I can only compare returning to Half-Moon Hollow for each sequel to hanging out with your friends from university. The early times that I spent with them were golden. I was just learning about the publishing world, myself as a writer, and we grew so much together. Years later, sitting down and “talking” with the characters puts me right back in that time and place, and its very easy to fall back into that conversational rhythm. The drawback is that, much like old friends, I spend a little too much time worrying about what they think of me.

I spent days agonizing over the appropriately awful color for the bridesmaids’ dresses in Zeb’s wedding. I wrote and re-wrote a scene in which Jane is injured with vampire pepper spray, because I was afraid I was being too rough with her. I cried for two days when I wrote a central character’s death scene.

And one night, while I was working revisions for the third book, NICE GIRLS DON’T LIVE FOREVER, I dreamt that I was walking into my living room and found Gabriel, Dick and Jane sitting on the couch. They were as I'd always imagined them and they were sitting just a few feet away – looking really irritated with me.

Gabriel cleared his throat and kind of gave the other two this look, as if to say, "Why do I have to be the one to do this sort of thing?" And then he held my hand and explained that we'd all been together for a few years now, and it was "great, really great" in that sad break-up tone of voice. But, he said, now that the third book was finished, they’d all agreed that it was time for the three of them to move on and do other things. Jane, who had become more and more angry during this exchange, exploded and yelled at me for making money off of living vicariously through her and putting her in dangerous, humiliating situations for laughs.

I told them that I still needed them, which seemed to make them happy. But then I added that I needed them because the third book still needed rewrites, which made them angry all over again. Dick yelled that he was going to go work on a vampire project where he would be appreciated and "Good luck with those rewrites when you don't have me around to be your funny dancing monkey-clown anymore!" And they all walked out!

I woke up with tears streaming down my cheeks. It’s at times like this that my husband has to gently remind me, “They’re not real people, sweetheart.”

But they are to me. Authors hurt when their characters hurt. We take joy in their triumphs and mourn when we have to bid them goodbye. And when certain vampires get too full of themselves, sometimes I have to write a scene in which they are trapped in a well while their author and Creator lectures them on respect and appropriate behavior.

I eventually let them out.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

German media coverage for Jane Jameson

OK, so Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs was recently released in Germany as Nette Mädchen beißen nicht.

Recently, Love Letters Magazine, printed a column I wrote called, "Showing Your Characters Who's Boss." I'll post the English translation tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I have figured out how to cook a chicken... which for me is an accomplishment

And while we’re on the subject of Turkey Day, we’re hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year and I’m planning on making the turkey for the first time. I am not a great "main dish" cook, so there have been several small “practice birds” consumed in the last few weeks.

While experimenting, I came up with a pretty decent recipe for chicken and dressing casserole. Since you guys seem to dig recipes, I thought I’d share it.

Chicken and Stuffing

You’ll need:

A whole thawed chicken sized to your family’s appetite (We usually use a five pound bird.)
3 cups celery, chopped
1 yellow onion chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1 package of thick cut bacon
Three boxes of stovetop cornbread dressing mix
Water and margarine to prepare the dressing mix
Spices (see below)

Preheat the oven to 325. Place your chicken in a large roasting pan. Make sure you remove a giblet bag, if there is one, because that can be gross. Chop the onions, carrots and celery. Save half of the celery and onions, placing them in the fridge. Take the remaining onions, celery and carrots and stuff them into the chicken’s “cavity” ... for lack of a better word.

When it comes to seasoning the chicken, we basically use enough of each spice to dust a light layer over the chicken’s visible skin. We use the following spices: sea salt, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cinnamon and allspice. It sounds weird, but the cinnamon and allspice really sets off the other flavors. Lay strips of bacon over the spices and press them down on the skin.

Place the bird in the oven for at least one hour and twenty minutes. When the bacon has crisped and browned, remove it from the chicken and set aside. We use it for salads or toppings for baked/mashed potatoes.

Place your cutting board on a baking sheet and put that wherever you plan to carve. (Less bird juice run-off during carving.) When the bird is cooked to a safe temperature, as determined by your handy meat thermometer, take the pan out of the oven. Place the rack on the cutting board. Drain the drippings from the pan into a bowl.

When the bird is cool enough to carve, remove as much meat as you can and slice it into manageable chunks. (No skin, no bones, no tendons. Ick.) Remove the veggies from the bird and add them to the drippings.

Prepare the Stove Top according to the box instructions. When it is ready, place it in a large bowl and stir in the chicken, plus the uncooked onions and celery.

Place the drippings and veggies in a food processor and blend until the vegetables are incorporated into the liquid. Pour the blended liquid over the stuffing mixture until it is absorbed.

Place the mixture in a large casserole dish. Place the dish in the oven. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until the casserole browns and gets crunchy.

Let stand for five minutes before serving. We tend to serve ours with steamed string beans and bolillos (football shaped rolls.)

The Under-Appreciated Thanksgiving Movie

With the Halloween schlockfest on TV winding down, I would like to put a good word in for the underappreciated holiday movie: The Thanksgiving movie. Yes, Thanksgiving lacks the glamour of Christmas. There are few “Thanksgiving angels” to pop into your life and help you see the errors of your ways. There are few Thanksgiving miracles. Besides, that goofy looking float in the Macy’s parade, Thanksgiving doesn’t even have a cool mascot.

Now, I know my taste in movies is… somewhat suspect. However, there’s rarely such a thing as a “bad” holiday movie. Except Black Christmas. (Murderous Santa, shudder.) But to support my argument for the little-known Thanksgiving classic, I offer my favorites:

Home for the Holidays – If you’ve never visited family for a holiday and wondered how the hell you ended up related to the people at the table… well, I’d like to spend some time at your house. But poor Holly Hunter has lost her job. Her mother seems to think she’s some sort of rudderless moron. Her sister is smug and condescending. And her older relatives keep telling random, mildly offensive stories that derail her whole day.

Hmmm. Holly Hunter sounds like a human version of Jane Jameson.

Home for the Holidays is one of those movies that shows that yes, your family may be weird, but you love them anyway. At least, on federally recognized holidays.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Three words: “Those. Aren’t. Pillows.”

Pieces of April – I usually have a firm “no Katie Holmes” policy, but if any movie will help you appreciate your family, this one will. Poor Katie plays the family screw-up, entrusted to prepare the turkey feast for her unappreciative, dysfunctional family as her mother, Patricia Clarkson, is in the final stages of cancer. It’s rare to find a movie that has you rooting for someone to punch a fictional cancer patient in the face, but Clarkson’s Joy has it coming. I like the message of the film, in that April doesn’t get exactly what she wants, but what she does get is almost better.

Dutch - Who doesn’t like to see Ed O’Neill dancing like a fool and accidentally setting a car on fire with bottle rockets? “Dutch” features a young Ethan Embry as a snotty young Conservative forced to bond with his mother’s blue collar boyfriend on a drive home for Thanksgiving. The story manages to be sentimental without being cloying, funny without being condescending, and has a message without being preachy.

Plus, Christopher McDonald gets a pinky-ring sized dent punched in his forehead. I hate that guy.

My favorite holiday movie ever, has to be “What’s Cooking?” It follows the story of four families of different ethnicities and how they celebrate Thanksgiving. The humor, the poignancy, the accurate portrayal of awkward family moments, and an interesting twist at the end make it a “must-see” as I’m preparing my contribution to the family feasts.

As a subgenre, Thanksgiving TV, I would also like to highlight the “Slapsgiving” episode of “How I Met Your Mother.” Never make a slap-bet, people. And if you do, do not let Lily Aldren be your slap-bet commissioner. If you mess with her holiday feast, she will eff you up.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New Jane stuff

I've been writing more new Jane material today. Here's my favorite exchange from tonight's work:

"Dick, did you shoot Gabriel in the back with a bow and arrow?"

Dick muttered, “What am I going to get sent to time-out if I did?"

"That’s not really an answer," Gabriel noted.

"No, OK, I didn’t shoot you," Dick shouted. "I was playing Madden on Wii.”

"When did we get a Wii?" I asked.

"This is what’s disturbing to you in this situation?" Gabriel cried. "Unaccounted for gaming equipment?"