Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Tonight is celebrating her three (!!) October releases in a chat. Drop by! I will unfortunately be working, but I'm in awe of her productivity.

When: Monday, October 29, 8 PM, Central
Where: Angel's Chat Room. and click the "Enter my Chat room" link
Why: to promote "Raising the Dead," "Shifting Back" and "Ain't No Easy Run"
Why should you come: fun! Frolic! free e-books!

Also, M.R. Sellars is getting serious ink today. Actually yesterday, but I had no time to read the Sunday Post. Murv is a helluva guy, and he makes good book. Seriously, when I was a barely-published hack with two e-zines to my name, he sat down with me and gave me some of the best career advice ever, and made me a fan. He also writes the terrific Rowan Gant mystery series, in which his detective is a witch of the real-life Wiccan variety. He also is a witch, and he began writing the series in part because he wanted to see a realistic portrayal of Wicca in genre fiction.

The Q&A is here, and worth reading.

You can buy his books directly from him at his site, or you can hunt for them at your local independent bookstore. But as always, I urge you to buy small press books directly from the author, not from Amazon, because then Murv gets to keep more of your money. I recommend reading the series in order, by the way.

He always releases a new one at Halloween. I assume that's why the Q&A in the Post.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another review for ABADDON!

"This story is gripping and raw with intense emotion and great characters... This vampire world and its characters are created so realistically you almost expect to hear about them on the evening news, and not be able to sleep afterwards." -- Coffee Time Romance*

* Warning: Mild spoilers in the full review.

Now don't you want to buy it? Sure you do!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Enchanting Reviews has this to say about ABADDON:

"This story is not a romance by any means. But it is a story of loss and revenge. A story of love and a hate that has lasted for a hundred years and that will not be denied. It is a story of fire. The fire of the human and the vampire hearts. A story of a hate that must be stopped or the vampire and human friendships that are barely holding on will be shattered because vampire consorts are being killed and someone wants the vampires to take the blame....

...a storytelling ability to rival that of Stephen King."

Wow. Thank you!

FAQ: Whither Sanctuary?

Because it came up about 3846921 times in last night's chat, here's the official status of the Sanctuary universe.

As most readers know, there are three published Sanctuary stories, all in the SETTING SUNS collection (available now from New Babel Books!). From what I've heard from readers, they were among the most popular stories in the book. I enjoyed writing them, and was pleased that so many people seemed to enjoy them enough to ask me (constantly) when they can get more Sanctuary.

The first book is written. And rewritten. But the current version was written before NOCTURNAL URGES or my subsequent three books. I look at it now and cringe. I am actually glad the one agent to whom I submitted it turned it down - it would have tanked (and been blasted by reviewers) in its current incarnation. It needs work. Enough work that I simply don't have time to do it right now.

See, it's all about cash flow, folks. The 2007 convention season is over, but 2008 is looming and I need to be able to pay for those lovely conventions with something other than wisecracks and charm. When I take too much time off of "paying" projects, my cash flow nosedives and I end up paying out of my personal account. Which, I'm afraid, does not have the padding to allow me to fund the hotel bill.

So I've made myself a little promise. If I land a big enough sale - win a $2,000 contest, for example, or sell a novel to a publisher that offers advances - I will take some time to devote to SANCTUARY, rewrite it from the ground up and send it out to agents for representation to New York.

It's not gonna be 2008, folks. I wish. ABADDON is out, and sometime later it'll be out in print. That'll be great, and give me something new to sell at cons and hawk at bookstores. But right now I need to be working on things that'll come out in late 2008 and give me money in 2009. That's not SANCTUARY, not yet.

Believe me, I want that series out there. Everything I've done has been about building my name to the point where SANCTUARY can be seen in public. I want Crawford and Torrance kicking ass out there in the "real" world where everyone can see them. I love that universe, and I could happily play in it for the rest of my career.

But the hotel bill still needs to be paid. When I can get back to SANCTUARY, you guys will be the second or third to know.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Thanks to everyone who came to the Therapy Chat! My computer unfortunately barfed the trivia contest, so that part ended fast.

But it was great to hear everyone's thoughts and predictions, and even better to hear that people are enjoying ABADDON. Seriously, the best part of all of it is to hear from someone, "I really enjoyed your book." Even better is "Damn you, woman, you made me cry!"

It seems the parts that needed to work did, and the parts people were supposed to notice they did. Creatively, I'm happier with ABADDON than anything I've published to date. It's almost enough to believe in. Heh.

Now back to work... And remember, if you liked the book, TELL SOMEONE!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Therapy Chat/Halloween Party!

You asked for it, you're gonna get it. Since so many readers have told me they need therapy after finishing ABADDON, we're gonna give you another chat to let out your feelings. Oh, and celebrate Halloween with your fellow lunatics.

WHO: All you characters, god help me
WHAT: Therapy/Halloween Chat!
WHEN: 7-9 p.m. CST Tuesday, Oct. 23
WHERE: The Wilderness Chat Room (directions below)
WHY: To discuss ABADDON and/or throw things at the author, plus celebrate a horrorific Halloween! The usual prizes and silliness, only the trivia questions will be about horror movies and novels, not just my stuff.

You know you wanna.

Wilderness Chat Room

a) Go to
b) Wait while it loads. This can take a minute. You may see a little coffee cup thinking.
c) If it asks you if you trust the applet, you say YES.
d) You'll see a little black screen. Click File and go down to Connect.
e) It will ask you for a login name and password. You only have to do this step once.

Alternately, if you have a favorite telnet-based chat client or mud client, you can connect using: 4000. Raise your hand if you know what that means.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Walking in Memphis

I spent the weekend in my old town, tooling around with my friends from college. It's always a blast to see them, even if they do remember way too much of my youthful shenanigans. Ho-hum, look at ceiling, nice day for a morning, eh?

But while I was in town, I thought I'd get a little work done. When I was last in Memphis in March, I hit all the independent bookstores I could find, but Burke's Books (famous indie new-used store) was in the process of moving from its fabled location on Poplar next to Circuit Playhouse to a new location in the Cooper-Young district. So this trip, I hit Burke's. Missed the owners, but the kind young man behind the counter took my pitch kit.

I also dropped by the main branch of the Memphis library and the University of Memphis library to donate copies of Setting Suns, along with contact info in case they have any questions or concerns. The Memphis library didn't exist when I was in college, and if it had, I would have LIVED there. It's an enormous glass and stone cathedral to The Book, and I was awed into hushed voice just by walking in.

The University of Memphis library, however, was Nostalgia R Us. The sound the doors made when they whooshed open, the smell of books and paper that hit me as I walked in... suddenly I was twenty and on my way to the computer lab, where I would spend countless hours.... um, studying! Working on papers! Not playing on MUDs, what are you talking about?


This is a long, silly way of saying that if you live in Memphis, SETTING SUNS is now or shortly will be available at both the city and campus libraries. Yes, it was a tax-deductible donation, but really, the thought that my work is available at the alma mater of my heart is more than enough. My degree may read University of Tennessee, and I am fond of it, but my heart belongs to Memphis. Always.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Signs you're done for the day: “So the full-immersion course isn’t standard?” Cat said, trying to crack jokes. No one was laughing. Including the author. Fuck!

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
31,461 / 90,000

It's like when I get in the room with JASPR, the fun dies. I intended for them to lighten up the book, expand a bit in the world of ghostliness and most of all, expand the word count. It ain't working. It's not the characters' fault - okay, maybe it is, they're all a little too sour. Either Shane or Justin needs to be the serious one, and the other one needs to be a smartass. I think it needs to be Justin - Shane's all law-and-order.

I don't know. I'm into a new sequence now, the break in the parade o' flashbacks. Chapter Five is one giant flashback, from the boys as kids up to the promise at the river. Then we break, and Cat spends a little time with JASPR trying to figure out what the hell is going on (and going on an investigation) before she goes running back to Colin for the next round of flashbacks. Otherwise we spend two chapters in the past, and by then nobody gives a rat's ass what's going on in Cat-time. Cat who?

Fuck! I'm beginning to think this book sucks.

Today's Research:

• A CAT scan commonly costs $900 cash. CAT scan! Geddit? *facepalm* I have no funny today.

• The common rifle used by U.S. soldiers during World War I was the Springfield rifle, manufactured in Springfield, Mass. When it fell into short supply, soldiers used the less-reliable Enfield. Derivatives of the Springfield remained in use until the Korean War. Silly autobiographical note: The esteemed author Elizabeth Donald spent the bulk of her childhood in Westfield, Mass., which is a hop, skip and two jumps from Springfield, Mass. In fact, she played in the Springfield Youth Orchestra as a lass. The cello. Badly.