Monday, March 30, 2009

SBD Blindspot

I think I sometimes like flawed books better than more perfect, polished ones. Like Blindspot, this one I just listened to--it was a lot of fun. It tried to do too much and be too much, but I love it just for making the effort.

A big reason to like the book--I found the hero totally appealing. He was a wonderful rogue/goober. The heroine and her journey made sense, usually. You forgave her for almost killing herself with poverty and pain instead of making easier choices. I don't know why I didn't find her as appealing as the hero when she was the stronger, smarter of the two of them.

The story of the hero's best friend, Alexander, was harder to take but that's because it was much less light-hearted and the best friend (a black man) was more complex. Alexander might not have fit the tone of the story but he was overall a nice change of pace, lemme tell you. Having the best friend be difficult, angry and vain (all for very good reasons) was such a pleasant surprise. I've gotten used to Better Than Human -- and thus less than people--black characters (especially in historicals) and he was sort of a superman, but he was definitely a man and not perfect.

I take it back about him being thoroughly human. He might have occasionally slipped into the role of representing every strong black man who's been intellectual repressed but that's more interesting than the usual role. And I did eventually understand why he and the hero were such good friends.

I didn't buy a few things. The big reveal scene in the mystery was lame-o. The pre-revolutionary war stuff was eh, and the puns and historical reader in-jokes were sorta silly. Although a lot of the secondary characters were more fun than they usually are in that era. The printer for instance---although the winsome young pickpocket was annoying and the hero not figuring out the heroine is female went on a lot longer than was believable--no, wait that was part of the joke I think.

This historical tried to pack it all in. Mystery, abolitionists, more murder, blackmail, revolutionary war, women's rights (sort of ) along with romance and a romp of a woman dressed as a man. I did like the fact that hero, sexually attracted to her even when he thought she was a man didn't freak out about the Oh, I'm a HETEROSEXUAL not a nancy boy! thing at all. He was more worried about the fact that he was hitting on his very young employee. Might have been 21st century concerns, but they were convincing.

The book had heart. And it kept me interested I spent a lot of two days trapped to my mp3 player. If I assigned stars to things, which I don't....well. I don't. But it would get a lot 'em if I did. Except, yeah, it's a real mixed bag. Some parts would get blazing huge stars standing ovations. Others would get a pebble. That's much more interesting than a thoroughly competent book, I think.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Attention writers in search of advice about writing

Hey, listen, even if you don't approve of Twitter, this is a good thread for newbie writers. Shannon Stacey (whom I love even if she ignores me 99 percent of the time. No, it's ok. I don't mind) started it. You just go here and type in #writeradv . Easy!

And unlike #queryfail, there isn't a lot of meta-discussion so far. If you look up #queryfail there are thousands of messages about the process and how meaningful/horrible/innovative/boring it was. Not worth the time. Better to read about queryfail on a blog where the good messages--as in useful or funny--are collected.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

no chum today**

I'm over at erotic muses today, not fuming about the RITAs. I haven't threatened to withdraw from the RWA for years now.

I need to get steamed about something. Got anything for me?

All I have is this stupid book I'm writing. These people are boring me and they should stop being assholes. And frankly I don't care if they fall in love or fall off the boat. If only they'd shut up.


**I promise to stop using that word soon, but truthfully, I'm not harping on anonymous's note. That's just a wonderful word. As good as "dickweasel" (whoops got that wrong at first.) Chum just feels good in the mouth even when you're not saying it out loud. Chum. Tastes like "gum" only even juicier. And then for the extra-added-plus you have the fish guts and heads flash through the mind? Yay.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Well lookie at that

Whoa. This blog is sort of featured. I wish I could frame that post over at Linc's because, dude, it is going to be the only time I'm ever going to be shoved into the same division conference as Neil Gaiman.

Does this mean I have to start using punctuation and hunting down missing words** in the blog? Naw, I should have a couple of days ago. It's moot now.

And for anyone who wants to know what I think the blog's theme is: Stream of Consciousness Random with Occasional Stabs at Promo. Also forays into fretting and bleeding heart politics. SBD is all Beth's. If you want to see truly elegant Stream of Consciousness, go visit Beth.

** for instance "to" is a word I can't seem to use/place properly. Always the little shit that trips one up.

Monday, March 23, 2009

SBD after all

good god it's all twitter and facebook's fault. I have only so much fritter time and they're using it all up. But SBD is short and it's Fool, by Christopher Moore a book that is silly fun so far. (it's a retelling of Lear, I suppose it will get tragic eventually, although the ghosts are as randy as anyone else, so even death isn't so horrid.)

Wonderful insults, good language play. But seriously, Moore's not kidding when he says in the intro you must avoid this book if you don't like wankery or fuckery. It's not just bawdiness --almost all but not quite -- I'm about half done and characters are growing more interesting and some are almost even fleshed out as they do their wankery and fuckery.

Part of the reason it's so good is that I'm listening to it, not reading it. I think it's the sort of book vastly improved by a good reader and Euan Morton is one of my favorite new readers. He's right up there with Simon Jones. Those are some clever, sweet-tongued guys.

Friday, March 20, 2009

it's friday already?

I could lie and say I've been writing novels, but actually I've been reading them. Mostly Balogh and they've all blended together in my mind. Lots of healing outdoor passive sex for deeply wounded people who hold back especially when they really should just say what the hell they're thinking. I do like her work but I should not have read so much of it at once.

My own books have slowed to a crawl. Too daunting. Plus at the moment I don't like my own style. I keep trying to change it but once I really start plugging away, the way I write slides back to what I'm used to. And then I slide into self pity and then we all slide into bed to watch Cash Cab...or read another Mary Balogh. Time to slide out of here! Time to go running! Time to find other people! I spend too many hours alone with snoring dogs!

Now if that isn't gory detail.....well. (To understand why gory is important, see last few comments attached in post below. Every time I stop to think about putting in a new entry on this blog, I come up against that word. Chum. To you my poor, starving shark readers who gather, flapping your impatient fins at the edge of my blog, hoping for another installment, churning up the waters)...

I did just write a love letter to my family, but I want them to love me back so I don't think I'll post it.

today's observation of the internet (actually earlier this week so it's ancient history) written like a USAToday story:
We're sadder and more upset about Natasha Richardson than we expected to feel about a stranger we never met and don't quite remember seeing in any particular movie.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

so very modern

okay a number of people who Know These Things say that using a fake name is in the past. Hiding your identity is a tough proposition these days and if you're not devoted to making sure no one finds you (for a reason like you write gay fiction and you're a member of a conservative church or a third grade teacher or both), then using a pseudonym just annoys tech-savvy readers who wonder why you bother. They assume something is off. . . .Are you hiding bad sales figures? Bad reviews? Just trying to be cute?


Skip Callie Braden
, they say. Summer Devon is okay, because yeah, if it would be objectionable to some of your readers, makes sense to have a special name for the sex. But Callie Braden? Don't bother. Or if I am going to bother, I should something obviously related to my name (I tried Kate Wells, but got bad results) then it fits the "cute" and not "deceptive" category.

What do you think? In the internettty age does it make less or more sense to use a pseudonym for each different genre?

be nice

I want you people out in the world to be nice to my boys, but especially to the one who cares. Go ahead and be rude and unpleasant to me. I can take it.

When people make fun of that coach who yelled at the reporters to lay off his boys, I wasn't scornful (months ago and I'd google it but I have to make a yarn run and clean the house. And get you people to be nicer to my kid). Yes, that coach was an ass, but yah, I get why he said that.

I'm fretting about that boy. He's too. . . too. . . I don't know. He's bound for disappointment. Too caught by what people think about and especially what they think of him. He's too empathetic. I wrote sensitive, but that has a negative connotation even if it fits.

The boy is pleasant to people and dammit, you should just be nice right back at him. Or else.

Monday, March 16, 2009

SBD I want to read their next books

It's time again to nag the world to publish works by these people. I have my standard list (RA MacAvoy, Judith Merkly Riley, Bonnie Dee etc) but I thought I'd add to it.

Come on, editors and publishers. Pony up and buy new books by:

TF Banks.

Lynnette Baughman

Cheryl Sterling

Don't make me whine at you, dammit.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My nightmare

YOU can take it and turn it into a real novella. I can't because I swear, I can still feel my bones dissolving. But if you sell it to the horror movie industry and make real money, I want a big cut. Seriously. After all, I had to live through this, sort of.

Here's what I dreamed:

We're having a party -- a big one--and an univited man comes into house. He's very jolly but somehow we sense he's up to no good. Yet because he's got some clever moves and gets round (he gets into the drop tile ceiling at one point) we don't manage to escape. He injects each person with a big white thing (looks just like one of the tools my dentist uses--to apply glue I think). Anyway he tracks us down one by one and then he leaves. He waves goodbye even.

Time passes and we're worried but none of us get sick or dies. A day? A week? I don't know. But it's okay. Everyone feels great. Also we feel a huge compulsion to go to a really nice house. The man from the party greets us all and life is good. Better than ever been. He’s a lovely guy it turns out. I cry because I can't believe I misunderstood him.

But then he gets really sick and in his ravings says something about food. Other people are getting sick. And when they die, they turn into sacks of goo. Even their bones dissolve and they're big sacks of goo. We try to leave but the compulsion to stay to be around other people is huge. Hard to fight it. We hate going outside. But most of us force ourselves to move because Mike has figured it out.

It's just like some bug or another he's studied, one of those wasps that lays its eggs in a fly. He says we’re targeted as food and we’re being processed for consumption by grubs or something with no teeth. Whatever is going to eat us wants to make it easier to collect the food in one spot so it's give us the desire to stay put.

We’re all ailing except one guy. A really nice guy--I think it was Nick Herold. Sorry, Nick. Then Mike or I remembered he got injected early on. He seems to have lost a lot of his personality. We realize he’s been chosen as the next food gatherer---the one who'll be able to leave and get new food supplies by injecting more people.

So somehow we kill him by pushing him off a deck. We're too weak to do more. After this I spend the rest of the time looking for a deserted place to die. About now the dream goes wonky. Lots of crowds gather, even as we're look for woods or deserted spot to die, fighting the desire to be around other people. I don't feel particularly bad, but I can feel everything inside me dissolving and I can't walk and then I'm having trouble breathing.

I think as I woke up I thought, hmm, it would be bad if I threw myself in a lake. Everyone would get sick then. But I think the dream ended with me outside a house with a pile of leaves over me. Waiting.

It was frightening and icky, but not a real nightmare. Even as I was turning into a big sack of bug food, I thought, whoa, this is a plot isn't it. Like for a story. It seems awfully familiar. Did I steal it from somewhere? Or maybe just from the insect world or viruses. It reminds me of the cleverness of malaria.

look, she's got no cone!

Unfortunately see how her ear hangs low? The operation left her lopsided. She uses those ears to express emotion so this will be a disadvantage. Maybe it'll pop back into action eventually.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

why they're so rare

I'm surprised that everyone's omiGOD, these people at CNBC aren't really reporters!!

Journalism is hard work and I don't mean the part where you sit down in front of a screen to write. The gathering news part is hard. But what can be way harder is the fuck yous you get, the clever lies, the personable liars and the threatening ones. Not to mention the fact that you might end up writing bad things about people which will make you an object of hatred. You might end up being messenger who will be ignore, reviled and undermined. Or shot. Yeah, that happens a lot in a lot of parts of the world.

Real journalism is not for someone who wants to be popular with the elite--or anyone else if it comes to that. If you write really balanced stories about horrible situations, nearly everyone is likely going to show an asshole side and you have to expose that. Exposed assholes aren't pretty. True investigation of important issues is not for television personalities if they care about ratings. The story is all that matters for a real journalist.

I was a real reporter for ohhhhhh maybe 2 weeks? Less than that, really. It was a story that was dumb and small -- about the placement of a television tower for god's sake -- and still makes me feel nauseated when I think about how MAD everyone got.

The kind of reporter I'm talking about isn't the type who goes to a meeting and writes it up (and in case you're curious, I stank at that) I mean the type who goes to the meeting and then looks for the back-story and tries to see why people are doing what. She's an investigator and she won't stop until she figures it out . Note to Jim Cramer and anyone else: People who are doing bad things will lie about it. And if you figure that out, they will get mad at you. EVERYONE will get mad at you. Even people you like and admire. Even your publisher.

After that tiny foray into real news exploration, I did nothing but feature stories. Maybe a trace of controversy, but never deeply explored, never the basis of the story. I was a girly girl and I wanted people to like me. I did not like it when the big guy yelled at me and told me to fuck off.

So when Jon Stewart tells Jim Cramer he's not a real journalist and he should have been and Cramer's already big eyes go all round and sad, I think, no, Cramer couldn't be. He doesn't have what it takes. In fact, who the hell does? Not a lot of people as it turns out.

Cramer and almost everyone else over at CNBC never will be able to write real news. He's like most of us. He cares too much about what people think of him. He respects money too much which means he respects the people who hold it (or he did, anyway) If you're going to be a real reporter, you can't care so much about the people. You care about the institutions and justice. You know people and you can write a great portrait, but the people aren't as important as the story, and you're willing to hurt the feelings of people you might actually admire. You have to have the courage of your convictions to a degree that most of us can only imagine.

And those reporters? I've only met a couple and they're tough, driven, scary people, God love them. I sure do.

Friday, March 13, 2009

sleep on it

I so should not have written that last post. Kids, let that be a lesson to you: don't post when pissed. You look petty.

Now I have the Meatloaf song in my head. Lemme sleep on it

And if my son spends any more time trying to convince me that "The Trees" by Rush is actually a fine song, I'll sing Paradise by the Dashboard Light to him. That'll show him. He's still asleep; maybe I'll wake him up by serenading him.

And in other breaking news: word count numbers are way down, my coffee is cold and I have to go to the dentist again. That's the worst I can come up with for the headline news [oh, see how the real headline news types are all dizzy with joy today? Anna Nichole is back! kinda.] which means life is dull and fine, just the way I like it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


okay so let's say last year there was a big online kerfuffle. All about a writer who was perhaps abusing the ratings system at an online store. Big, big stuff.

And let's say you're a snarky writer who got offended by the whole thing....and you make a remark out on the interwebs that you probably shouldn't have. No, you definitely should have stayed quiet.

So time has passed. Before all this started you published a couple of books under your name. Of course not everyone likes those books, but still you're sort of oh, bummer about the fact that the books have a pretty poor rating over at goodreads. Oh well, you say. Tough noogies.

More time passes. You're supposed to write a synopsis but instead you do all sorts of things to avoid doing that, including updating profiles everywhere including goodreads.

And as you're doing that, you look at your own books to see if anyone's read them lately and if the ratings have gone up...and hey....

you finallynotice that two of the three 1-2 star ratings were done on the same day by two different people. Just about the time you made the remark. And that all three of those crappy ratings were posted by friends of the author you talked about.

So what do you do? You shut up. You think. Hmmm. Passive-aggressive is pretty hard to prove, that's why passive-aggressive is something that can work. It could be an amazing coincidence.

But you're also annoyed people might be putting up a rating for a writer's books that's a reflection of their opinion of the person and not the books (a complaint which, if one stops to think about it, is a nice change of pace. Usually authors are offended because they don't want to hear about their lives. The deal is the BOOK is what MATTERs and LEAVE me OUT of the equation.)

And then you passively aggressively post about it in your blog.

mmm yummy

Hey, I made good cookie bars, like magic cookie bars, sort of.

bottom layer:
package of graham crackers
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup oats
optional dried cranberries.
put in food processor, then when it's all about the same texture press into greased 9x13 pan.

middle layer:
pour out a can of sweetened condensed milk so it's spread evenly on your graham crackers
sprinkle with chocolate chips (lots) dried cranberries or cherries or raisins or nuts or all of the above. You can add coconut but not around here. Sheesh, what a bunch of whiners.

top layer:
some of that bottom layer, mixed with more oats (not ground up this time, maybe 1/2 cup), 1/3 cup brown sugar and a few TBL butter. Approx measures. sprinkle on top of the other stuff.

bake about 20 minutes at 350.

Let it sit to cool a while or you'll have a goddawful mess when you try to cut it. Skip the oatmeal and graham crackers, and use more gluten free shortbread or some other cookie type and voila! Ryan can eat it too.

who's that again?

A while back I got a contract for a new's a YA at Cerridwen, or whatever imprint EC does for YAs. I'm now filing out the cover sheet which means trouble because though I remember the name of the book, but I don't remember the characters. This means I have to go open the manuscript and go on a hunt.

These days I keep a character sheet for my stories. I have a list of details like eye color, hair color, clothes particular details that make that person distinctive. I didn't for this story. Fact is, I can't even remember the names of the people in the story.

Here's something even worse: I can't even remember my own name for this book.

Since this is a young adult contemporary, I didn't want to use Kate Rothwell (for historicals) or Summer Devon (for hotter stuff). Last fall, when the editor said he liked the story and wanted it, I picked a name for myself I'd used before, but then I made the mistake of googling it.

I discovered that the most online hits for that name went to a person who greatly admired Sarah Palin and hated all libruls. She spent the whole night after the election praying for bad things to happen to Obama. Or maybe it was that the country would survive his hateful message. I don't recall which and I'm not going to go look.

I figured we probably didn't want to be mistaken for each other so, I started putting first name/last names together, googling them, etc. It was a fine afternoon's procrastination. And I know I found something that worked. Apparently it wasn't particularly memorable. That editor left, I got a new one and she's at last ready to go to work on this story. She even loves it. Yay!

Work starts today when I go to hunt through my computer for hints of my characters . . . and who I'm going to be this time. I'll get back to you on my name.

UPDATE: Found me. Here's who I will be: Callie Braden. There aren't a lot of her out there! Kind of sounds like the word "calibrating.: Also could be an earnest YA novelist, don't you think?

When I hear this name I imagine she's probably the sort of person who doesn't do timing in jokes very well..... but has known the difference between a liquid and dry measuring cup since she was 10 years old . Callie sews her own clothes. She proudly announces "I made it' when anyone asks about her prairie dresses.

Uh oh. I better take some time off from this before Callie turns into a prig.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

random whines

So I have to go to Avon. I don't wannnnnnnnnnna go to Avon. First I have to go fetch my Bosnian pals and drag 'em with me. No, what I really need is to find a place that sells yarn that isn't fancy pants but is also WOOL and not acrylic. So anyone in the Hartford area know a place like that? Somewhere between Wal-Mart and OverPriced Yarnz R Us? And maybe we could buy it online?

That damn song about "Trees" by Rush? Hate hate hate it especially since I"m convinced they really mean it. I can't put on my Spinal Tap hat afterwards. And hey, I believe it's Ayn Randian.... ever notice it?

Also it must be hard to play on Rock Band 2 because the boyz can't seem to stop trying.

I had a nice SBD about a historical romance that's coming out but I don't know when it'll be released and I think I'll wait. I haven't read it but the premise is just so much fun and so different. . . .I'll wait.

And now I have to see if conedog will remain pathetic or if we will have a regular pup again. Please, Dr. Gus, take the cone away.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It's a contest!

A contest with a bunch of creative ways to enter

(although, dudes, you're going to need a calculator to figure out all those methods of entries. 20 entries here, 5 there.... Yikes.)

Word must be getting out, too, because there are over 160 comments.

Here it is, copied and pasted from the Bitten By Books website. (link above!)

The Last First Book We Ever Wrote

Hello there! My name is Bree, and I’m one half of the romance-writing, virtual-crime-fighting duo known as Moira Rogers. I’m here today because Bitten by Books was kind enough to agree to help us celebrate something really exciting that only comes once in an author’s lifetime: the release of the first book we ever wrote.

Awesome, right? We sure think so! Of course, the part that takes a little bit of explaining is the part where Crux is, in fact, our sixteenth ebook to be released. A lot has happened to us since fall of 2007, when we first sat down to try and tell the story of Mackenzie and Jackson, the heroine and hero who have to fight an evil supernatural conspiracy spanning generations to win their chance at a happy ending. We scampered off to hone our craft on short stories and novellas and learned from our experience. But we always came back to this story, because in the end we loved our tough determined heroine and her smooth talkin’ detective hero too much to leave alone.

Today, in honor of Crux’s release, we’ve teamed up with Bitten by Books for a chance to make someone else just as excited as we are. We have in our possession a NEW Apple iPod touch 8 GB (1st Generation) (Retail Value $229.00), perfect for listening to music AND reading books through the awesome application Stanza. The Apple iPod touch 8 GB also holds 1,750 songs or 10 hours of video. Go here to read all about it. We’re also going to give $50.00 and $25.00 Visa Gift Cards to two lucky runners up! All you need to do is read the rules below and enter this awesome contest. And if you happen to pick up a copy of Crux, we hope you’ll love Jackson and Mackenzie as much as we do!

Book Excerpt: “Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.

New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.

When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.

With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past-and her destiny.”


Readers, here’s how to enter the Crux New Release Contest. You can do ONE or ALL of these things, and each one will give you additional entries at a chance to WIN one of THREE fabulous prizes.

The Prizes:
Apple iPod touch 8 GB (1st Generation) (click the link to see the exact item)

$50.00 Visa Gift Card

$25.00 Visa Gift Card

Please note, the prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be absolutely no substitutions or changes the prize is non-transferable. If you don’t want the prize being offered, please don’t enter the contest. If you ever win an electronic copy of a book, please note that it is ILLEGAL to forward, give away or copy it in anyway once you receive it. Doing so violates copyright. If we find out that it has been done, you will no longer be eligible to win any of our contests.

1. The easiest way to enter is by purchasing copies of Crux. Yep, it is true, if you purchase a copy of Moira’s new release here: You will get FORTY entries to the contest for each copy you purchase. It is not mandatory to purchase a copy, there are plenty of other ways to enter and win. Just email me a copy of your purchase receipt to racoo.smith @ (no spaces). Sorry no faxes or snail mail copies.

2. Spread the word!! Post this event in it’s entirety including the image at the top of the page for the contest announcement on your blog or website. Right click to save the image to your computer. Come back and leave the links to where you posted it. Good for 20 entries PER place you post it.

3. Attend one or all of the events hosted at Bitten by Books in the upcoming weeks, comment and participate at those events for extra entries into this contest. Here is a link to the event schedule: Start with Diane Whiteside’s interview from today here: Just come back and tell us which ones you participated it and leave the link for the event.Good for 10 entries per event you attend.

4. Read the Bitten by Books reviews of Moira’s books here:

Then leave a meaningful comment IN THE REVIEW post that shows you read the review, not just a post that says “sounds good” or “nice review”, a couple of sentences would be great! Simply share your thoughts, ideas or opinions and show the author some love. Good for 5 entries per review.

5. Post all of the links to Moira’s reviews on Bitten by Books along with your thoughts on each one on YOUR blog/website. You MUST come back here and post the links to where you posted the links at. Good for 10 entries per place you post them.

6. SUBSCRIBE to the Bitten by Books newsletter here on the right hand side of the site. This is for new subscribers only. Be sure you VERIFY your subscription, an email is sent with the verification link. Unverified subscribers will not be entered and will be deleted from the mailing list. Good for 10 entries.

7. Post the link to the contest here today ( at another blog, website, Myspace, Ning Group, Facebook, Yahoo Group (any group where it is appropriate) and you will be given TEN additional entries for a chance to win for every link you post. BUT you MUST come back here to this interview and post those links in one response here in this thread. The more places you post the event, the more entries you get, so spread the word! NOTE: if you post multiple links here, your post will not show up right away. If you don’t see it, don’t keep posting it, we WILL approve your entry later on in the day. Good for 10 entries per place you post the link to this event.

8. Purchase copies of Moira’s awesome books USING THE LINKS BELOW today through Friday 3/20/09 and send us a copy of the receipt VIA email (sorry no faxes or snail mail) for your purchase to: racoo.smith @ (no spaces) for TWENTY additional entries. You get TWENTY entries for each one you purchase. Not valid on past purchases. Please use these links below to buy her most recent books.


Cry Sanctuary (Red Rock Pass #1):

Kamikaze (Last Call: New York #1):
Hurricane (Last Call: New York #2):
A Last Call Christmas Party (Last Call: New York #2.5):
Tequila Sunrise (Last Call: New York #3):
Virgin Daiquiri (Last Call: New York #4):
Tequila Sunset (After Hours #1):

Moonshine (Mystic Valley Shorts #1):
Some Like it Haunted (Mystic Valley Shorts #2):
The 13th Step (Mystic Valley Shorts #3):
Last Hope (Carnal Powers #1):

Wild Card (Down & Dirty #1):
Calling the Bluff (Down & Dirty #2):

Under the Magnolia:
Sexual Healing:

Or buy ANYTHING from Amazon today through Friday 3/20/09 by using the Amazon search box to your right hand side on our site. We will know if you used the box to search and buy, so please be sure to use it or your entries won’t count. Send me a copy of the receipt VIA email (sorry no faxes or snail mail) for your purchase to: racoo.smith @ (no spaces). Good for 20 entries per item purchased.

9. Add us as your friend on Myspace:

Add us as your friend on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter: be SURE to tweet us after you follow so we can count your entry! @BittenbyBooks

Be sure to mention that you are friending us for this contest so we know to enter you! Good for 5 entries per place you friend us.

8. Be friends with Moira by joining her here:

Her Newsletter



Twitter (Bree):

Twitter (Donna):

Then send us a copy of the email you get once you are approved for her newsletter, forum welcome email that will have your username on it and the confirmation of friendship on Myspace to: racoo.smith @ (no spaces). For Twitter, send me a tweet to @BittenbyBooks with @moirarogersbree and @ donnajherren that says “Crux New Release iPod Touch Contest” (please don’t DM the tweet) Good for 10 entries each place you add.

10. Twitter and ask your friends to re-tweet the URL for this event be SURE to include us in your tweet @BittenbyBooks Good for 10 entries.

11. Add Moira’s blog, website and live journal to your blog roll or links page: and Good for 10 entries for each place you add it.

12. Add Bitten by Books to your blog roll or links page: if you leave our link up permanently you will always be entered into our contests automatically. Just be sure to stop by each contest we hold and leave the link to where it is so we can give you your entry! Good for 10 entries.

13. Email ALL of your friends and invite them to come by today! If your fiends come and post here and say you sent them, they get FOUR entries and you get SIX entries! They have to tell us who you are so we know who to give the entries to. You can invite as many people as you want and get all the extra entries!

14. Join the The Blood Bank the Bitten by Books Community! here: then come back here and tell us your user name. Be sure to post something about yourself on your blog there. Good for 10 entries


The contest ends on Friday 3/20/09 at 11:59 pm PST and the winners will be contacted the following week. You will receive your prize directly from the publisher. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FIRST AND THE INITIAL OF YOUR LAST NAME as well as a valid email where we can contact you. REMEMBER the more things you do, the more entries, the greater the chances of winning.


1. If you aren’t interested in receiving the prizes, offered please do not enter the contest.

2. You have THREE days from the day the I contact you to claim your prize by sending your name/mailing address to me. Failure to contact me will forfeit your prize. BBB can at that time, choose either to re- award the prize to another entrant or not.

3. The prize stated IS the prize you will receive, there will be no substitutions, trades or changes. No exceptions. Please do not ask. If for some reason you do not wish to claim your prize, please let me know as soon as possible. We have the option to re-award it or not.

4. Contest is open to readers worldwide. International shipping will be the least expensive option available and insured if possible. US shipping will be via priority mail, with delivery confirmation and insurance. The prize contributor and Bitten by Books is in NO way responsible if your prize doesn’t show up or is damaged in transit. The item (s) will not be replacable. The prize is shipped directly from the author.

5. Bitten by Books is in NO way responsible for the prizes being offered in any of the contests. If for some reason a contributor does not honor their prize, there is nothing we can or will do about it. We are not worried that this will happen, but we want to be very clear that WE are not offering these prizes, the contributor is and it is their responsibility to fulfill their prize obligations.

6. These rules are subject to change or be modified without prior written notice.

7. Contest is void where prohibited.

8. By entering this contest you are agreeing to our terms of entry

fiction fun in nearly real life

I just commented on a post in my Summer persona by accident. I forgot to sign out as her and sign back in as Kate. My comment mentioned barbie dolls.... and when I saw who'd posted it, Summer, I had a moment of "no, she wouldn't say that. Not her." As Summer, the only way I'd think about barbies would be as props. My friend Arianna uses barbies to make sure what she describes in hawt scenes is physically possible. That's the Summer way.

It's funny having a persona that always snaps off to another train of thought that's not really like my own. And then, when I see that I've signed her name on a comment that doesn't match that persona, it's like when any fictional character steps away from their natural behavior. It's jarring and rings false. Takes you out of the story.

It's kind of cool actually. Kind of like walking around living with characters in a book in your head during planning time. . .only this time it really is me. Sort of..

Hmm. Is this nonsense? Because listen, I might sound insane but I'm basically harmless so you can just put down the funny white jacket and go about your business.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

about time

I keep reading twitters and blogs and whatnot about how gorgeous Michelle Obama is and how the person making that comment would kill for her looks. And all I can think is it's about fucking time.

Sure, there have been gorgeous black women or women of mixed race who've been thought of as beauties, but they were models or stars. And anyway, usually they're EXOTIC. Six foot tall, cheekbones that are almost otherworldly. Michelle is an ordinary person, albeit glamorous, but she's no exotic. Futhermore she doesn't have blue eyes or a deep golden skin. She is black and she is lovely and everyone (other than a few scary people) knows it.

I've been personally aware of this white is the standard of beauty thing ever since I was a kid. When I was little, I got to go to Murphy's on Wisconsin Ave. and pick any doll I wanted. I picked a doll that was as big as I was, a walking sort of doll. Heck I was greedy and she was the biggest one there. The woman buying it with me was the woman who took care of me--she was black. When I picked out the doll she was taken aback and said, "are you sure? That one's ugly."

That one was the only black doll in the display. She wanted me to buy a white doll.

Huh, now I wonder if she was uncomfortable that a pasty white girl would be playing with a doll of her race but when I was a kid thinking about this (a few years after the fact. At the time all I thought was yes, this is a great doll! It's huge!), I believed that she really thought because the doll was black the doll was ugly. And she was black. I still believe this and it's still pushing those buttons labeled Something's freaking unfair here.

I'd sometimes go home with her, and she had a couple of grandkids about my age who lived in her house. We'd play dolls. Every doll they owned was white.

This was in the 1960s-70s... the Black Is Beautiful thing was big with the people who were determined to change the world. But not with that Baptist minister's wife and the other females in her family, I don't think.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting all this. I was a kid and a pretty self-absorbed kid at that. Still, I think about this when I read white women sighing and wishing they could be like Michelle Obama and I want to cry and dance at the same time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

today's favorite free book critique

You write good characters. I like your characters better than any book I've read this month.** I stuck with a plot I didn't love mostly to find out what happened to them and then I began to enjoy the plot, too.

(and yes, I did ask permission first this time, T!)

**sent on the 3rd but we're still pretty happy.

Monday, March 02, 2009

SBD not all that different when it comes down to it

So I read all of the Witch books by Kim Harrison and then I started reading another book by another author of the same sort of book and HEY, LOOK ! same sort of issues, same sort of emo vampires. I went over to a review site and started reading descriptions of plot and I suddenly got the point of how those books operate. And then I took that magic jump, past that particular barrier of subgenre, into pure realm of silliness--leaping the lines of power into another shadow kingdom where everything is the same but different, the ever after.**

In historical romances, there's the threat created by a monstrous uncle or bad guy who wants the woman (often feisty or strong-willed) who frets about her virginity and the tempting man who's so far out of her league, something about her life or dignity will be threatened if she gives in to him. She also worries about her role as she usually makes her way alone in the world. Or maybe she has a younger sister dependent on her. Standard familiar stuff. Oh and the hero is all emo about wanting her.

In the urban paranormal, there're the monsters and demons gunning for the kick-ass heroine who frets about her virginity in terms of the biting/sleeping with a particular sort of creature who's particularly tempting but not in her league. Her soul is threatened or maybe she'll turn into monster paste if she indulges. He's all emo about his Dangerous Nature and about hurting her. She's also worried about her role in the world(s) , usually alone (because, dude, everyone she loves dies or is in danger). She's got dependents too. Sometimes The Human Race or sometimes a younger sister.

**Taken from Kim Harrison's books. Speaking of which, I'm ready for number 8, please.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Here're the first five pages of a story I'm currently working on. I'm about forty pages into it working title, Adventures of Trudy Tildon. Why did I take the time to put these five pages in pdf and put them on the internet?

Because I can?

Because it's easier than actually working?

I swear to God, the other stories I have lying around do not have rash heroines. Maybe I should put up the first five pages of all the current things and you guys can decide which one I should keep.

UPDATED: Damn. I forgot to put a "copyright, all mine, don't steal" note on it. I'll get around to it after I eat cookies and run on the treadmill, not in that order.

writerly stuff

I get more notes about my free book than any other book I've written. It's interesting how the notes aren't necessarily all about the book or my writing, but about other things, like the note-writer's work. That's fine with me because maybe it means I come across as friendly.

I doubt that's because more people have read that book than any of my others. That first Kensington book had a pretty big press run. It was in drug stores and Wal-Mart, for pete's sake. Probably this is because of the new interwebby ways of the world. Writers and readers are each others' FACE. Also? It might be because I put my email address somewhere in there.

Speaking of in your face. Here's a lesson I read on a writer's loop that people might want to take to heart: if you ever want someone to give you a cover quote? (a blurb dammit... thank you Colleen Lindsay) it's probably best not to trash any of her books in public, ever.