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Showing posts from March, 2006

a quick note...

It seems the distribution problem with SETTING SUNS has been sorted out. If you've been waiting to order SETTING SUNS from your local bookstore (and really, why would you wait?), you can now go in and ask them for it.

And honestly, even if you have the book, you can help by asking the bookstore clerks if they carry the book. The more a bookstore hears, "Do you have SETTING SUNS by Elizabeth Donald? It's from New Babel Books," the more likely it is they may decide to stock a few copies. Capish?

new website!

Happy to report I have purchased www.nocturnalurges.com!

I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier. Fortunately, it had not been purchased by a porn shop, as was the case with Scarlet Letters. Now I have a web site solely dedicated to the Nocturnal Urges series.

The site is pretty simple at the moment, and I will have more offerings in the future. For now, please drop by and let me know if there are any coding errors or funky design elements. Remember, folks, I do all my web design myself. With Netscape Composer. Real web designers just started crying. What can I say? I'm HTML-challenged.

Major kudos to Devin Harris, my brilliant graphic designer. Folks, if you ever need work done, give her a call. She designed the neat series graphic.

(And no, that's not the cover image for INFERNII, it's just a placeholder. I have to finish writing it, and then contract it, before we get a cover. Patience!)

Midsouthcon Report

• Let's get the award out of the way: It's an honor just to be nominated. No, seriously. I was in fine, fine company. In fact, the woman sitting next to me had a stellar novella, at least what I could tell from her reading, and I was proud to come in behind her. Her name is Tracy S. Morris, her novella TRANQUILITY appeared in DOUBLE DOG #2 by Yard Dog Press. Go forth and buy.

My dad texted me: "It was fixed. Blow up Memphis again." I laughed out loud. But in all seriousness, A MORE PERFECT UNION is both an extremely sexual book and a violent serial-killer mystery dealing with dark aspects of obsession, sexual hypocrisy and madness. It's not for everyone, particularly the sexuality. A few members of the committee let me know they didn't hate it, and that's enough for me.

And by losing, I did not have to arm-wrestle Selina Rosen. I may be nuts, but I'm not fuckin' crazy.

• I love hotels. I always sleep well, stretching out on clean sheets that someone…

Put On My Blue Suede Shoes and I Boarded a Plane

Actually, I boarded my car and drove to Memphis.

I love this city. I lived here for three years as a young woman, and it has always held a place in my heart. I've lived all across the country - moved 26 times at last count - and Illinois is my home. But Memphis is sort of where I'm from.

Updates will be sporadic, as I've got a heavy schedule for the past few days. But I look forward to seeing any denizens of the Underworld while I'm here. And hopefully I'll get to visit downtown and gather inspiration for INFERNII.

After all, at least once a year I need to wave hello to my vampires...

V for Vendetta and Authors' Egos

Regrettably, I have never read V FOR VENDETTA. It is now on my short list of Stuff I Must Read Yesterday.

I thought it was a good movie in the way that movies should be good - exciting, a few plot twists I didn't see coming, characters of dimension and thought-provoking as well as emotional. I have no idea if it's anything like the graphic novel, but I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I'm surprised it's not causing more controversy, given its themes.

The episodic nature of a graphic novel shows a little, in a segmented structure that nevertheless works very well. Many have slammed it for being too much of an action film, when the novel is one of ideas and philosophy. However, being an aficionado of action films, I'd say it's actually rather light on the action. V only really gets his game on two or three times, and the scenes are brief.

What can you say about a movie in which you begin by thinking the "hero" is an official loon, and end by cheering on hi…

Darrell and His Other Brother Darrell

I took a one-day vacation yesterday to celebrate a momentous occasion. No, not St. Patrick's Day. That's what all of YOU were celebrating. I selfishly chose to focus on my own birthday.

Yes, I was born on St. Patrick's Day. I think that's why my middle name is Kathleen. I spent the thirty-first anniversary of my birth with a good friend, her son and my son. There are worse things in the world than watching two boys who pretend to be brothers play in the backseat.

There shall be a longer post on the Most Haunted Small Town in America, which we explored in a half-day driving tour. Oh yes, there shall be a post. When I figure out how to upload pictures onto this thing.

At any rate, my birthday was enlivened by a few people singing into my voice mail, numerous text messages and e-cards... and the arrival of a box of books. SETTING SUNS has finally arrived - two weeks later to me than to the customers! - and I can start sending out copies to all the kind people who have order…

Requiem for a Cat

I found my cat dead in the living room this morning.

It wasn't a surprise. Dabney was seventeen years old. I'd acquired him at age fourteen in Massachusetts, back when dinosaurs walked the earth. He'd followed me across the country, through college, marriage, divorce and more states than most human Americans live in all their lives. He'd been failing for months, and skidded downhill over the weekend. If he'd held on much longer, I intended to have him put down, as a mercy. We still have Marina, the girl cat two years younger than Dabney and his lifelong companion.

Poor Dabney. When we got him as a kitten, we thought he was a girl. We named him Tallulah. We had a family tradition of naming pets after actors, and we were quite surprised when Tallulah turned out to be a Dabney instead. For the rest of his long life, people always assumed Dabney was a girl. Always. I don't know if it was his soft white-and-beige fur or just something about the eyes, but the poor cat…

self-published cheating

So, is it cheating to make an entire blog entry a link to another blog?

Because I could take the opportunity to chat you up on the difference between small-press POD and self-pub, and why you should never, ever self-publish your novel.

But why should I, when Brian Keene has already done so? Go to http://hailsaten.blogspot.com and take a look at his entry.

Now, I disagree with Brian on three points. First, I do think there are some books that can are such niche-market books that they cannot gain an audience. I'm thinking specifically of Jay Smith's RISE OF THE MONKEY LORD, a novel that would likely appeal to horror role-playing-game fans. That's a pretty narrow market, and Smith chose to self-publish. While I think he might have eventually found a publisher, I can't fault him for taking the most direct route, and the book has got some buzz. I might add that CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL started life as a self-published book. I might find CHICKEN SOUP and its endless progeny t…

In Memory of Rick

We do not speak ill of the dead.

I don't know where this tradition began, but we never say bad things about those who have passed on. There is always someone grieving, and it seems like spitting on their pain. Perhaps that is part of the blessing. Perhaps by enacting a personal moratorium on unresolved anger and forcing ourselves to remember only the good, we move one step closer to accepting our loss, to letting go.

I wrote a story once about two people trapped in a literal whirlpool of grief. Having reached the stage of the most pain, the most anguish, they can choose to move on... or to sink back into the whirlpool. All that it takes to move on is to let go, to accept and forgive.

It's easy to forget, sometimes, that every man and woman who walked the earth was once someone's child. Once someone held him, sang him to sleep at night. As someone said, we try to remember the good, happy fellow we knew, and try to forget what went wrong. It is the blessing that comes with lett…

A brief synopsis (so to speak)

For the writers out there, I refer you to this excellent article on writing a novel synopsis: http://home.pcisys.net/~pammc/Synopsis.htm

I've read some baaad synopses of good novels, folks. There's nothing harder to write. I'd rather write a Dear John letter than a synopsis. When writing one for SANCTUARY, I repeatedly shouted, "If I could have told the damn story in three pages, I WOULD HAVE!"

But they are necessary, and they're a major part of selling the book, and this article shows better than any I've read how most people screw it up. It's worth your attention.

Mandyville

To shamelessly steal from another blogger, I bring you the Peter David Proposed Ending for THE WEST WING:

Moira Kelly's "Mandy" simply evaporated between seasons 1 and 2. No mention was even made of her. The running in-joke behind the scenes was that, if a character disappeared from sight (such as Sam or Ainsley) they'd moved to Mandyville.

I would just love to see Mandy show up in the last episode in which CJ is walking down a corridor and Mandy just falls into step next to her, talking to her about something. And CJ just acts as if she's been there the whole time. Maybe at the end of the scene CJ says in an offhand manner, "Hey...haven't seen a whole lot of you lately. Where you been?" and Mandy just says, "Meetings." And they head off in opposite directions.


That amuses me.

Though Peter David and I agree most strenuously that while the class reunion planned for the finale of what was once the best show on television is excellent, the missin…

Looking Before You Rush In Where Angels Fear To Tread, and Other Mixed Metaphors

The following is a writing editorial originally penned for the Writers' Circle, on how to spot a scam:



You don’t need an agent.

Whoops, I already lost you, didn’t I? Get your buns back here and finish reading. Yes, I know. I heard that one a hundred times when I was an unpublished author striving for a crumb of reassurance that I was not kidding myself, and I discounted it as quickly as you just did. The agent opens the door to New York Magic, right?

The publishing world is huge and strange, and follows its own rules while making up new ones as it goes along. It is difficult to navigate it. But an agent makes it no better. And a bad agent can make it worse.

I’m starting off with agents because they are the easiest scam among those preying on authors. Here’s the way it works: Jimmy P. Sleaze with a Chicago or New York address contacts Beth, an unpublished writer. He says, “Hey, I love your work. Send me more and maybe we can do business.”

Beth sends in her work, happy and excited – so…

early-morning web updates

I am posting this entry at 1:07 a.m. This should serve as the definitive answer to the folks who ask me the question I hear more often than Stephen King hears, "So where do you get your ideas?"

The question I hear is, "How do you do it all?" Reporter. Single mother. Book author. How do I do it all? Easy. I update my blog at 1:07 a.m. after reprogramming my web site while waiting for a cake to finish baking after working the night shift. My apartment is a mess, I'm two years behind in my filing, the scrapbooking materials are shoved into a drawer for six months on end and I haven't even noticed my vacuum cleaner's broken. It's easy to do it all, folks. Give up sleep, cleanliness and a life.

The cake is for a co-worker's retirement party tomorrow. God bless you, sir, and enjoy your sail off into the golden fields of not-working-anymore. I wish I were going with you.

But before I go sign up for my 401(k), I wanted to let you loyal denizens know that…

Reader Voices

First of all, the biggest belly laugh of the week comes from dear friend and Muppet Rat Devin Harris. She had this to say about SETTING SUNS:

"It's creeping me out. I will never own a teddy bear again. ::shudder::"

She then created a marvelous icon, with a cute little teddy bear and the words, "Can't Sleep: Bear Will Eat Me." I about died laughing.

In case you're wondering what we're smoking, one of the stories in SETTING SUNS centers on a little white teddy bear with angel wings. Muahahahaha. It's the one titled, "Jesus Loves Me."

Meanwhile....

My sister told me a colleague in her office borrowed her copy of SETTING SUNS to read during her lunch break. SHE NEVER BROUGHT IT BACK. The colleague snuck it home with her. My sister is now royally annoyed. "My husband is out of town, I actually have time to read and she TOOK MY BOOK!" she fumed. As I snickered.

A reader told me the book arrived and she and her husband actually argued o…

The Sanctuary Series

As those of you who have read SETTING SUNS know, there are three stories set in the Sanctuary universe in that anthology, and I'm getting questions.

For those who haven't, and/or are new to my work, I wrote SANCTUARY for the first time when I was a teenager. I revised it in college, and again in 2002. It is the work dearest to my heart, despite its many and multiple flaws.

SANCTUARY tells us what happens when the aliens come to invade and conquer - and we lose. As the Gahid - my strange crystalline-insectoid aliens with an even stranger religion - occupy Earth and scoop up shipfuls of humans to cart offworld as slaves, chaos reigns on the surface. Cities degenerate into gang wars, while others flee to hide in the rural wilderness for as long as they can stay ahead of the Gahid.

In New York City, a cadre of military families takes refuge in a half-finished underground military base. They are hiding, not fighting, and as the years go by, their children grow up without seeing the s…

Muppet Rats List

If you've ever seen the movie, THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN, you'll remember the Muppet Rats.

Kermit and friends needed to get New York City talking about their big Broadway show. So Kermit set free Ratso and the rest of the Muppet Rats in an upscale restaurant. The rats scurried under tables and started talking in loud rat voices about the show. People overheard them and started asking each other about this new show coming to town. That's the Muppet version of a whisper campaign.

(EDIT: I have since been informed the leader of the Muppet Rats is Rizzo. I am deeply ashamed for having misremembered this. Clearly I need a weekend marathon of Muppet movies as a reminder. Alcohol optional. Anyone care to join me?)

I have my own Muppet Rats. Other people, more respectful people, might call them fans. They run amok on the internet posting about my work, exhorting (some might say threatening) others to buy them. You know who you are. You know I love you.

Every author without a publicis…