Monday, April 26, 2010

A quick Sneak-Peek of GRAVE WITCH and the KISS of DEATH winner!

Well, you've been asking for it, and I have permission, so I am now releasing the first sneak-peek of Grave Witch. The book is still a little over five months from release date, so I only have permission to release a very short except, but I hope you enjoy this quick preview of the book. Closer to the release date I should be uploading a longer excerpt (hopefully I will get permission to release the entire first chapter). By the way, if you will be at ComicCon 2010, you will be among the first to read the first chapter as my publisher will be giving it out there. Be on the lookout!

Now, without further ado, please click here to read the excerpt. Enjoy, and check back often for more updates!

Switching gears, I'd like to now announce the winner of my recent contest. I employed a random number generator for fairness, and the winner of the signed copy of Rachel Caine's KISS of DEATH is:

Bookie, who wrote, "I found your blog through All Things Urban Fantasy. I'd like to see a post about the agency model that's being adopted by publishers. Thanks for the giveaway."

Congrats Bookie! Please send me an email at Contests(AT)Kalayna(DOT)Com with the mailing address where you'd like me to ship the book.

Thank you everyone who entered the contest and provided great topics/questions! I have a consolation prize (of sorts) for those of you who didn't win. As conference season has arrived, I've ordered a ton of bookmarks--probably more than I can ever give away at this year's cons. So if you would like bookmarks for Once Bitten, Twice Dead, and Grave Witch, email me at Contests(AT)Kalayna(DOT)Com with the subject "BOOKMARKS". Please include a mailing address were you'd like me to send the bookmarks.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Friday, April 23, 2010

RavenCon recap part 2

If you haven't entered to win a copy of Rachel Caine's KISS OF DEATH, scroll down.

Several people have asked for more information about the actual panels I sat on at RavenCon, so I thought I'd expand on a couple here.

As I mentioned previously, I was on roughly a dozen panels during RavenCon. I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite, though a couple stick out, so I'll highlight some of the discussions here.

The Future of Urban Fantasy: This was a delightful panel I shared with Mike Allen, Rachel Caine, Laura Underwood, and Nancy Holzner. Some concern was expressed that there are a lot of new titles appearing in urban fantasy currently, but it was pointed out that they are out there because there is a hungry audience for such books. It was mentioned that if you said 'this creature/situation has never ever been done before' that someone would probably be able to point you to a story where it had, in fact, been done, but there are certain creatures which are less prevalent. Some speculation was made that there is a growing demand for non-European folklore. Mentioned possible alternative mythologies and beliefs to draw from included Native American and Middle Eastern. The topic rounded off with the fact that anything can be made new again by a fresh idea, but also a warning to be respectful, especially if beliefs are still held in certain parts of the world. A lot of these same ideas were mentioned later in a panel called Leyaks Don't Get No Respect where we talked about under represented and rare myths. So what do you guys think? Any favorite creatures/myths you'd love to see on the shelf in a modern novel? Any you are absolutely sick of reading about?

The panel Got Sex? was probably one of the most entertaining to sit on, largely due to our awesome moderator, Kelly Lockhart. On that panel with me were Barbara Friend Ish and Pamela Kinney (who also writes erotica under the name Sapphire Phalen). Now this was a very interesting panel for me, and at times, a very blush-worthy one. Those of you who have read my Haven novels know that while there is a decent amount of romantic tension, there is no sex in the first two books. Grave Witch, which will be released in October of this year, will contain my first published sex scene. Yes, I'm nervous about that, but there are plot progression and character progression reasons the scene had to be in the book, so I'll just pretend my grandmother is going to skip that chapter (maybe I'll doctor her copy of the book before I send it to her. LOL) The main point in this panel that came up time and time again was that sex must further the story, not be included just for titillation (unless that is the purpose of the book, but then that is a different genre completely.) A very fun panel, but I'm sure my pale skin showed off my blush brilliantly.

I'll mention just one more panel before wrapping up, though there are many more worthy of further discussion. I was also on a panel called Is Romance the Future of SF/F? with Catherine Asaro, Pamela K Kinney, and Terri Vernon. Ten years ago, there weren't many books on the science fiction/fantasy shelves that had strong romantic plots, but now they are extremely prevalent--particularly in urban fantasy. Some speculation was made that this could be due to the fact that over 70% of readers are women. Also, acquiring editors are predominately women, so more books that appeal to women are being purchased (who said only women are interested in love?) My personal thoughts on this matter is that people read to escape and that they like to experience a full range of human emotion. Also, at least in my genre, it is not just romantic elements we are seeing mixed in in with fantasy, but action adventure, suspense, mystery, and horror, so I think readers expect more with a book than conventional genre labels indicate. (Which actually rounds us back to the future of UF panel.) What do you think about the mixing of genres which is occurring? Do you enjoy a little romance with your fantasy? Would you rather there be less romance? How about other elements, like horror and mystery?

Well, that hits a couple high points of my weekend. I hope you've enjoyed reading about the panels. If you'd like to read a bit more about my thoughts on actually talking on panels and discussing my books in that setting, check out my recent post at the Magic District.

Also, before I go, a lot of you are asking for an excerpt of Grave Witch. I have received permission to post a short excerpt and that should go live on Monday. But, if you would like to see it early, I will be sending the excerpt out tonight around 8pm EST to my newsletter subscribers. If you'd like a sneak peek, you still have time to sign up for the newsletter here:

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Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RavenCon recap part 1, and a giveaway!

Echo . . . echo . . . echo . . .

Ahm. Yes, the silence here on the blog hasn't been broken in a couple weeks. Sorry about that. I have been juggling projects, deadlines, travel, and a hoop dance performance. Blogging fell to the bottom of the list, but I should be back now.

I have several topics I want to talk about, not the least of which is a recap of the marvelous time I had at RavenCon, but I don't want to overwhelm everyone, so I'll be breaking the posts down to manageable chunks.

I spent the weekend of the 9th at RavenCon in Richmond VA. I'd never attended Raven before, but it had come highly recommended and I'd been invited as a guest, so I packed my books, corset, and boots, and took a road trip. The con was delightful. Everyone was amazingly friendly, and the panel topics (both the ones I sat on and the ones I attended from the audience) were highly entertaining. I had the opportunity to meet tons of wonderful readers and talked to a good dozen or more fellow fantasy writers.

Among the authors I had a chance to talk to were Nancy Holzner, Jean Maire Ward, Pamela Kiney, and Rachel Caine. In the picture to the left, you can see me with Rachel Caine after one of my very first panels "The Future of Urban Fantasy". Unfortunately, while I managed to pack 7 outfits for the four day trip, I failed to pack the camera charger, and once I arrived I discovered the camera battery was all but dead.  So, that is the one and only picture I have from the con. *sad face*  A lot of people took pictures with me, so if you see one on the web, point me to it. I'd like to snag some of those visual memories of the people I met.

One of the highlights for the event was sitting next to Rachel Caine at a signing. She had a line most of the signing (which was actually fun for me as I got to talk to people as they waited to see her--lol) but when it pattered off we had a chance to talk a bit about publishing and agents (we both work with the fabulous Lucienne Diver) and I got a chance to get a signed copy of the newest Morganville Vampire novel. Actually, I picked up two signed copies--and the book isn't even supposed to be released until the 27th.

I'm a big fan of the Morganville Vampire books. If you're not familiar with them, they are a YA series about a 16 year old girl named Claire who arrives in what should be a quiet, boring little town in Texas--except this town is run by vampires. It's a great series, and I picked up the extra copy of KISS OF DEATH to give it away here on the blog, so I think it's time to do that.

Here are the give away details:

To enter leave a comment on this post (if you are seeing a mirror of this post, please make sure to enter on my blogspot blog.) You're comment should contain three things:
-Your name
-How you found my blog
-A question/topic you'd like to see covered on this blog. This question/topic can be about one of my books, about cons, books, writing, publishing, or whatever you think would be interesting.

The contest will be open until 11:59 EST on Sunday April 25th.  Once the contest closes, I will use a random number generator to pick one lucky winner (sorry, I know there are two books in the picture, but one is made out to me and is going on my keeper shelf). The winner will be announced on the blog on Monday.

Sound easy enough? Good luck everyone!