I recently returned from the Dahlonega Literary Festival, a great book festival in an artsy little town in the Georgia blueridge area. I had an absolutely wonderful time and met many amazing people during the weekend event. I also stayed at the cutest little bed and breakfast called the Lily Creek Lodge, and if anyone ever wants to escape for a weekend, I highly recommend it.
Over the last year I've had the opportunity to speak at a lot of fantasy and fan conventions, but this weekend was my very first literary festival. I've attended a couple literary festivals in the past, and at every single one I've found that genre fiction has been rather under represented and the fantasy genre conspicuously absent. There is often contention and rather nasty biases between literary fiction and genre fiction, so I admit I was a little concerned what reception I, as a rather young, newly published urban fantasy writer, would receive both from the audience who would attend the event and t…
I have to seriously wonder where the saying "grab some grub" to mean get some food came from. Why am I wondering about this? Mostly because I just spent the last two hours in my garden fighting a grub infestation.
I mean really, do these guys look yummy to you?
Yeah, me neither. And I must tell you, I'm rather distressed by their presence. When I first moved to my new place, I put three 4X4 garden plots down, but I only used two of them because it was so late in the season. The third I decided I would be enterprising, and as this development was built on nutrient deficient sand, do a little open air composting. I have a compost bin, but as a whole I have more grass clippings and weeds than I need in a single bin, so I dumped the extra in the empty garden bed hoping it would improve the soil by the time I'm ready to plant next spring. At first I turned and watered it regularly, but then I probably got a little slack.
I know I posted a while back that my conference and convention season for 2010 was over, but a couple weeks ago I was invited to be a guest at Dahlonega's 7th annual Literary Festival and I was delighted to accept. The festival is this weekend (November 12-14th) in Dahlonega, GA and based on the schedule I just received, it will be a wonderful event.
I'm not sure if a full event schedule is available on the website yet, but I'll be sitting on the following panels:
Saturday 10:45 - 11:30 - Fantasy vs. the Great American Novel.
(Panelists: Seressia Glass, Kalayna Price, Jeffrey Stepakoff, River Jordan, William Rawlings, Vicki Alvear Shecter, Susan Hubbard)
Sunday 11:10 - 11:55 - Finding Topics That Sell, Practical Options for Finding the “Right” Plot for Your Fiction
(Panelists: William Rawlings, River Jordan, Susan Hubbard, Jon Turk, Patrick Michael Finn, Jeffry Stepakoff, Seressia Glass, and Kalayna Price)
Sunday 3:30 – 4:15 - A Woman’s Voice in the Creation and Business …
So much has been going on recently that I haven't had a dedicated NaNo post since the begining of the challenge (and I'm actually putting off releasing news today--it will wait a day). Today let's talk words.
Week two of the challenge has now started. Everyone still pushing along? How is the wordcount coming? According to my chart, today's word goal is 15k words. (Okay, technically 15,003. Let's be exact.) Have your characters surprised you with what they've said or done? Any unexpected plot developments?
At this point your beginning has well and truly begun, and you are probably hurtling toward the first turning point in your story (or perhaps you've already hit it.) You've made a good start, so keep powering on with the momentum you've created. Here are a couple links to resources you might find useful as you write through the second week:
Write or Die--This is a great motivation tool. The product page used to say "Putting the 'Prod' …
The polls have closed and the Grave Witch in the Wild contest is now officially complete. The votes have been tallied and with 27 votes in the sidebar and 17 votes in the comments the winner is: Kitty with the Kindle!
Congratulations Dawn! Please email me at Contests(AT)kalayna(dot)com with the shipping address of where you'd like the bookmark to go and let me know if you want the ghost or tombstone. (click here for pictures).
Now, the second prize is supposed to randomly selected, but I have to say, I love all the entries so much that I decided that all four entries deserve to win. I just ordered more charms from etsy, so as soon as they arrive, I'll design two additional bookmarks. That means four prizes in total and everyone wins! ASchilling, KT, and NL Berger, please email me at the above address with where you'd like me to ship your bookmark. (Since the charms have not arrived yet, be prepared that it might be a week or two before I can ship the bookmarks.)
November 4th 2010 might forever be known as the day the internet fought copyright infringement. Most of you are likely already familiar with the events surrounding Monica Gaudio and Cooks Source Magazine, but for those new to the story (were you away from your computer yesterday?) I'll recap very quickly.
On Wednesday night Monica blogged about discovering that a post she'd written several years ago on apple pie had been reprinted in a magazine she'd never heard of let alone granted permission to print her piece or received compensation from. After emailing and calling the contact information (which used to be provided on both Cooks Source's home page and facebook profile), Monica was eventually asked what it was she wanted. She asked for an apology and a $130 charitable donation to the Columbia School of Journalism (which considering she'd been plagiarized by a for profit 'professional' magazine, her request was both kind and rather selfless.)
Today is the day, and I am very pleased to reveal the cover for the second Alex Craft novel, GRAVE DANCE. I could build this up a bit, but I think I'll just splash the cover and not keep you waiting in further suspense.
So, what do you think?
Personally, I think it's absolutely striking. It retains the ethereal and contemplative aspect of the Grave Witch cover while the closer crop and forward angle of Alex's body adds an edge of power and assertiveness. The cityscape visible behind the cemetery is a gorgeous touch, and I love that they kept the subdued blue greys overall with just a single splash of brilliant of color with Alex's shirt (green this time). In short, I love it and I absolutely cannot wait to see it on the shelf beside the first book!
It's day two of NaNo. How are things going? I saw several of you knocked a nice chuck of your word count out last night. Congrats! If you find you're falling a little behind, no worries--you have plenty of time to catch up. If you find you're spending a lot of time staring at your screen and not writing, try setting a timer for short bursts of writing--try 10 to 15 minutes at a time and you might be surprised what you can accomplish when a timer is counting down. If you're having trouble carving time to write out of your busy day, remember that you don't need long periods of time. If you can jot down a sentence or two at a time while cooking dinner or waiting on the kids to get out of after school activities you'll find yourself a lot closer to your goal when you finally do reach your computer. (Also, thinking about your story throughout the day will keep it percolating in the back of your head.) So, how are those word counts looking?
Before I start talking about NaNo, let me first remind everyone that today is the very last day to enter the Grave Witch in the Wild contest. I'll be posting the finalists tomorrow, so make sure you get your entries in by midnight tonight!
Also, if you're a newsletter subscriber, I have a very special sneak peek of the GRAVE DANCE cover going out exclusively to subscribers tonight. Everyone else will have to wait until Wednesday for the big reveal. If you're not a subscriber but you would like to be, subscribe here:
Okay, now on to today's blog post.
It's November first, which means it is the first day of NaNoWriMo. All over the world thousands of people will be putting words to the page and starting novels today. Are you one of them?
As I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, I would like to once again run a mini community here on the blog. Participating is easy, if you are taking the challenge, simply stop by the blog a couple times a week and share your current…
Hey guys, I'm so sorry to cancel the signing scheduled for tomorrow (10/30/10) so close to the date. (Heck, I'm sorry I have to cancel it AT ALL.)
Due to circumstances completely out of my control, tomorrow's signing at the BAM in Sandhills has been canceled. I've been in contact with the manager this afternoon, and the books he ordered for the signing did not arrive, so they have only what was on the shelf--2 copies, apparently. The manager wants to reschedule for an as of yet undetermined date (we'll see) but the pertinent fact is that tomorrow's signing is canceled.
I'm so sorry about this guys. If I had any control of the situation, I'd still hold it.
Hey, I have just a couple quick announcements to make today:
First up, tonight (Thursday, October, 28th) I will be in the Knight Agency Chatroom starting at 9pm EST chatting live with readers. I have no idea what I'll talk about for an hour if you guys don't show up and ask questions, so please log in and join in the discussion. I would love to chat with you guys. Also, I'll be giving away 3 signed copies of GRAVE WITCH and there will be several other paranormal books by other writers represented by my agency up for grabs, so please drop by. You can find out how to log in and all the other important details HERE.
Second item on the agenda is that my Halloween book signing is this Saturday, October 30th from 1-3pm at the Books-A-Million in Sandhills. (164 Forum Dr. Columbia, SC 29229) I'll have candy and swag, so if you are in or around the Columbia area and couldn't make it to the release party at the beginning of the month, I hope you'll try to make the signi…
Pets fill a number of different roles in peoples' lives. For me they are family, so today I lost a family member. Licorice was 11 1/2 years old and the sweetest guy you could meet. He was a lap kitty and purr box who often had the tip of his tongue peeking out. Monday we made an emergency appointment with the vet because one of his toes suddenly doubled in size. They put him on a steroid, an anti inflamatory drug, and an antibiotic as a first step, but there was a good chance it was cancer and that on the recheck next week we might have to consider amputation. Yesterday he was happy enough. This morning he was having trouble breathing. He died in transit to the vet. At least he died in someone's arms, knowing he was loved. And it was fairly fast, so I don't think he suffered much.
I do believe animals have souls and that he is in a better place, but that doesn't dampen the ache of saying goodbye. Here are some pictures of my baby so he is immortalized here on the blog.
Last week I asked for questions. Today I will be answering them. So let's see what you were curios about:
Edna asked: Q. How many books will there be for the Alex Craft series? A. Currently there are three books contracted in the series, but I have ideas that go beyond the third book, so I hope Roc buys more of the series. The next book, GRAVE DANCE, will be released late next summer.
Q. Falin and Death both seem like fantastic love interests for Alex. I was wondering if you already have it set in mind who she will end up with, if anyone at all? A. I have a definite direction for Alex's love life, but as I'm writing surprises often occur, so nothing is set in stone.
Q. And this is a general sort of comment but I'm incredibly fascinated by Death. In a future book I hope Alex can learn more about him and maybe get a glimpse into his world. How about "A Day in the Life of a Soul Collector"? ;) Falin is quite interesting himself. I'm eagerly awaiting to read more…
After the blog party and my month of blogging near daily, I'm a little unsure of what to talk about on the blog. Soon I'll start blogging on NaNoWriMo--very soon, I guess, as November isn't far off and I plan to invite others to take the challenge with me once again this year. November will likely be mostly craft and encouragement posts, but for the rest of October? I'm not sure (hence the silence the last couple days).
So, I thought I'd open the blog to questions.
Do you have something you'd love to ask me? It can be about either series I write, about writing in general, about hooping, heck, you can even ask me your homework questions, but I don't promise to know the answers. If you leave questions in the comments of this post, I'll answer them in tomorrow's post. Sound good?
A week or so ago I inquired whether you guys would be interested in a photo contest with the prize being a custom made Grave Witch bookmark. The response was enthusiastic, so I went in search of the perfect charms. Considering it is nearly Halloween, I thought now would be the ideal time of year to find charms that would tie-in with Grave Witch. Apparently I was wrong. I scoured every craft store and Halloween shop I could find with absolutely no luck. I nearly gave up the search and considered making the charms myself (because I need yet another hobby and everyone wants me learning to carve soapstone instead of writing, right? yeah, no.) Luckily, in a shop I never would have guessed would carry charms, I found the cute little tombstone and ghost that are now on the bookmarks.
These were designed and hand beaded by me. I chose the black and silver with just a splash of red color scheme to mimic the cover of the book. Both bookmarks feature gauzy black ribbon, a silver toned charm, and…
October is moving right along which means creepy costumes and sugar highs are just around the corner. Or is that just my plan? Surely not.
Halloween is nearly here, and it's a good time for the things that go bump in the night. Many creatures which once would have been relegated to horror stories and movies are now featured as heroes and romantic leads, but let's forget them for a moment and talk of the terrifying.
What flavor do you prefer your horror stories/movies? Do you like an oppressive atmosphere that keeps your shoulders hitched as you wait for the worst? Do you like the monster you never quite see so he's worsened by your imagination? Perhaps your horror preference is the gore and the gritty details. Or maybe the psychological horror tale that worms itself into the back your mind and then begins to twist. Or perhaps your horror tastes lean toward the destruction of all hope in the face of insurmountable and unstoppable odds? (Zombie Apocalypse an…
When I started thinking about writing this post, my initial title idea was "I think my kitten is a vampire." If you are a fan of my novels of Haven, you probably understand why that would have been rather ironic. That said, I'm still inclined to believe my kitten (okay, she's close to three now, but she's the youngest cat) might be a member of the undead.
What makes me think so? Well, I've been having trouble keeping the puppy (who, again, isn't actually a puppy, just the youngest) off the bed when I'm not in the room. She knows she's not allowed on the bed when I'm not in there, and knowing that, she jumps off the bed as soon as she hears me leave my office so that I never catch her on the bed, just hurtling herself over the edge. Oh yeah, and the wet spots where she's been chewing on her feet are a pretty big give away to what she's been doing. In an attempt to keep the puppy off the bed, I've started closing the bedroom door. Ea…
The last week has been busy but extremely exciting, and I owe most of that to you guys, so I just want to say Thank You to all of you.
The release of Grave Witch seems to be going well from my outside view (Of course, I won't know anything definite until I hear from my publisher in several months.) The blog tour stops have seen good traffic, the online chatter has been really positive, and reviews are cropping up! Thank you everyone who has picked up a copy already, and double thank you to everyone who has blogged/tweeted/recommend it to others. You guys are AWESOME!
Now, I promised you a wrap up of my first ever book signing. The event on Friday went extremely well (or at least I though it did). I was crazy nervous, which didn't help my already chicken-scratch hand writing or the fact that on good days letters get jumbled in my head and when I'm nervous? Yeah . . .
But everyone who came out was absolutely amazing. I must have talked to fifty or sixty people over the cour…
This is just a quick post to remind everyone that the Grave Witch Release Party/Signing is tonight from 7-9 pm at the Barnes and Noble on Forest Drive in Columbia, SC. If you are in the area, I would love to meet you!
I just packed my bag of swag and candy, and I'm excited. And a little nervous.
I was excited on release day, but you know, I didn't actually have to do anything on release day--the work on the book was already done, it was just a matter of logistics with the physical copies. (And of course the excitement of knowing people could actually read it!) Today I'm full of nervous energy because I get to talk to people and meet readers. I can't wait! (Now just to figure out what to inscribe when I'm signing books . . .)
I hope to see many of you tonight! And for those of you who can't make it, I'll make sure someone has a camera so I can share all the interesting details.
Several people have sent me pictures of Grave Witch on shelves or even a few of people with a copy, and am absolutely loving seeing the pictures. In fact, I think they are so awesome that I'm considering holding a contest so more people send me such pictures.
The question with such a contest is what to give away.
A signed book really wouldn't work as most people entering will have already bought a copy. I was thinking something special. Something unique.
If you've noticed my etsy link in the sidebar, you know that I make hand beaded bookmarks and jewelry, so I was thinking about creating an original, Grave Witch themed bookmark. Would that be something you as readers would be interested in? Would it be worth taking a picture of you (or your cat, or your plant, or get creative[but stay "G" rated]) with a copy of Grave Witch to enter a contest to win such a limited edition bookmark?
I'm still looking for the perfect charms to make such a bookmark--it's near…
Today I'm joined by very special guest, Nancy Holzner, author of the Deadtown novels. If you've been following this blog for a while, you probably recognize Nancy's name and series from a post I wrote several months ago on hooking the reader with the first line. Nancy's first book, DEADTOWN, is a personal favorite of mine, and I'm anxiously awaiting the release of her second novel, HELLFORGED. (It will be out December 28th!)
So, it is with great pleasure that I share this amazing guest post with you. Take it away, Nancy! The Telling Detail When I talk to readers about urban fantasy, one thing I hear a lot is that people enjoy this genre because it feels like the story could really happen. The settings are recognizable—you can walk the streets and see the landmarks of magical Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, or San Francisco, and even fictional cities have a real, gritty feel to them. The characters interact with people who could be our coworkers or our neighbors. In additi…
We are one day from the official release of Grave Witch, and I can hardly believe it. (Actually, according to the countdown widget we are at just under 10hrs because the book is technically released at midnight--but bookstores won't be open so lets say a day.) Reports of sightings are pouring in, and I'm already finding myself checking the amazon and B&N stats (even though those don't really tell me how well the book is doing). Reviews are also really cropping up now, and I'll link to some of those in a minute. In the meantime, I want to point out the two big events happening this week:
The Virtual Release Party at Bitten by Books, and the Release Party/Signing in Columbia.
The Virtual Release Party will be tomorrow, October 5th (release day!) starting at noon over at Bitten by Books. I'll be talking about closed vs open worlds in urban fantasy, about Grave Witch (of course), and basically anything else book/world building/etc people would like chat about. Also…
If you were following my twitter feed last weekend, you probably received a deluge of tweets with the hashtag #writerspoliceacademy about subjects ranging from signing a waiver which stated I could die to a conversation with the Hazardous Device team that started "So if I wanted to blow up a building . . . ?" As the hashtag implies, I was at the Writers' Police Academy, a conference with the motto "Sweat now so your manuscript doesn't bleed red ink later." They promised a "hands-on, interactive and educational experience to enhance understanding of all aspects of law enforcement and forensics." And I have to say, they delivered! I only wish the Academy had lasted longer because there was just so much to do, to see, and to learn--I couldn't get to all of it. Regardless, I still came home with pages of notes (how many pages? I'm not sure. I've been so busy with the blog tour I've barely had time to look at them!)
Today I am being joined by debut author Rachel Aaron. I first met Rachel (and heard about her Eli Monpress series) over at the Magic District blog. More recently, I had the amazing opportunity chat with Rachel in person for a couple hours at Dragon*con, where as well as having an entertaining conversation, she gave me a 'teaser book' with the first chapter of her debut novel, Spirit Thief.
The novel is a humorous fantasy, and you can find that same first chapter HERE. (Go ahead and go check it out, I'll wait.) I dare you to read it and not want to read the rest of the book. Spirit Thief hit shelves Tuesday, and you can bet I already pick up my copy.
And now, on to Rachel and her post on The New Golden Age:
When I tell people I'm a writer, one of the first things they say (after the obligatory “So, when are you going on Oprah?”) is generally some variation of “too bad kids/teens/people-in-general don't read anymore” accompanied by either a defeated sigh or a fed u…