Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Release day !!

Lots of great books are being released today! Two I have my eye on:

CHOSEN by Jeanne Stein - It's here! The newest adventure of the fabulous Anna Strong, bounty hunter turned vampire! (book 6)

It's been almost a year since bounty hunter Anna Strong became a vampire, but as she's about to discover, her greatest powers have yet to be unleashed...

Though Anna has become accustomed to the fact that she’s now a vampire, she still enjoys the illusion of being human. So when she suddenly notices that her primitive urges are getting harder to control, she’s worried. Then, she’s attacked, narrowly escaping with her life. The only person with enough motive to want her dead is her old foe—Warren Williams. But another more dangerous enemy lies in wait.

What Anna doesn’t know is that she’s far too valuable to kill. For she’s been chosen to shape the destiny of the vampire race—and all of mankind…

“Anna Strong lives up to her name: equally tenacious and vulnerable, she’s a heroine with the charm, savvy, and intelligence that fans of Laurell K. Hamilton and Kim Harrison will be happy to root for.”—Publishers Weekly

KILLBOX by Ann Aguirre - Yay! Another installment in the exciting life of Sirantha Jax, my all-time fave space heroine! (Book 4 in the series)

Sirantha Jax is a “Jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster than light ships through grimspace. With no tolerance for political diplomacy, she quits her ambassador post so she can get back to saving the universe the way she does best—by mouthing off and kicking butt.

And her tactics are needed more than ever. Flesh-eating aliens are attacking stations on the outskirts of space, and for many people, the Conglomerate’s forces are arriving too late to serve and protect them.

Now, Jax must take matters into her own hands by recruiting a militia to defend the frontiers—out of the worst criminals, mercenaries, and raiders that ever traveled through grimspace…
Read an excerpt of KILLBOX here!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Urban Fantasy heroines' Debt to Star Trek: Next Generation & Steve's hobby-to-career thinking!

A bit of history
So, way back in January of this year, I commented on a post on Steve Savage’s blog, Fan-to-pro. This particular post, written by his friend, Bonnie, was about how romance is the ultimate geek genre. Then, Steve contacted me for an interview, because, I fall into the category of “fan turned pro” being that I’m a reader and blogger and huge book fan turned author. 

And then we had this interesting exchange about urban fantasy genre’s debt to Star Trek: Next Generation, specifically when it comes to UF heroines, and I proclaimed I wanted to interview him, too. So we proclaimed we would interview each other. Back  in February.

The most postponed interview exchange in the history of blogland takes place. OMG!
Carolyn: Steve, did you fall out of your chair when you got these questions? Can you believe I’m finally sending some?

Steve: Not at all.  Trust me I understand how busy things get!
Carolyn: So, where the heck are my interview questions you’re supposed to send me? 
Steve:  Will you accept "very soon" as an answer?
Carolyn: LOL. That’s a joke - I’m more guilty than Steve of procrastinating at this point.

Steve: Well when this interview goes up, I’ll interview you.  With our schedules I think we only have time for one interview at a time!

Carolyn: Steve, I really love your blog. I love the mix of geekiness and inspiration. You’re not afraid to throw a post like “Visualize Massive Success” (a post I actually really loved) up along with stuff about the Kin-yoobi gamer con and interesting tech news and career insights. How do you describe Fan-to-pro to people?

 Steve's book for making geek interests
(STNG anyone?) into a career. 
Steve: I call them "Geek 2.0" - the people that turn their interests, hobbies, and meekness into careers. I meet the most amazing people out there at conventions, online, at book-signings, and so on.  There's an incredible amount of talent in the "Geek" crowd.

A lot of people I meet out there are very creative, very motivated, and just looking for a little insight or a boost or a useful tool to help them really combine their geekery and their professions. The goal of the blog is to help them find that.  

That's my hobby, my geekery - helping people realize their dreams and abilities.

Carolyn: I love that. So, doing this blog, have you been witness to any interesting Geek to pro transformations?

Steve: Yes actually – in fact they’re all over if you look for them or talk to people.  Most recently someone I was coaching had a profound realization of how their interests and career came together, in a very geek way, and it’s providing a foundation for their next career steps.

Carolyn: And now you have a book out, too. With a kickass retro cover. How has that been going?

Steve: I've gotten good response on the book so far, I'm just working to promote it now. I've had a few sales, but am always looking to do more. The book now is available in PDF and ePub format and I'm working to get it on the iBookstore, though that is proving to have challenges of it's own – I hope to iron that out in September.

I'm also glad you liked the cover - I wanted to try something retro, and was inspired by some of the  more abstract covers that were influenced by art deco, 50's, and 70's styles.  Finally I hit on the idea of simplicity, prime colors, and on having the image give a sense of "connection."  Also frankly the black was easy to work with.

The reaction to the cover has actually been mixed, and I’m learning a lot from the feedback I get.  Making book covers these days is actually hard because people have seen it all, because there are various trends to be aware of, and the book cover has to look good online.  My next book, which is the best of my first year writings at www.fantopro.com, will have a completely different look - more modern-business simple.

Carolyn: So, in the course of our exchange regarding my interview and your friend’s post, you brought out the point that Star Trek: The Next Generation helped “throw the floodgates open” for strong female characters and relationship storylines in the SFF genre. 

Steve: I feel it was definitely an influence. Star Trek: The Next Generation gave us Doctor Crusher, Deanna Troi, and Lwaxana Troi. Each played by a talented actress, each a strong character, and each also had plots involving relationships. I feel Star Trek: The Next Generation still suffered from some sexism, but these characters were an incredible leap forward.

Consider Doctor Crusher, coping with everything from medical crises to raising son to unresolved relationship issues - and at one point a relationship with a body-changing alien.  

There's Deanna, who tried to grow as a person in command. Finally, Lwaxana was an absolute delight, totally in charge, totally outrageous, while still showing love, affection, and loneliness. I still recall the scene where Lwaxanna talks to Alexander about loneliness, with a mixture of strength and sadness that was tear jerking.

I also liked the fact that Lwaxana was a mature woman who was open about her sexuality and her interest in men – and men’s interest in her. It was a contrast to the at-times sterile STNG universe, and I think added to her sense of strength.

Indeed, the roots of Star Trek: The Next Generation led, I believe, to Captain Janeway. There was a strong female character and one with complex and interesting relationships!

Carolyn: I love that you bring up Lwaxana, because she didn’t throw her femininity under a train to become a really powerful character. And to a certain extent, Deanna and Dr. Crusher were negotiating the same thing. Were you surprised by Deanna’s relationship with Worf?

Steve: As I understand it Marina Sirtis and Michael Dorn are good friends, so with that natural chemistry (as little as we saw), no. But character wise, I actually see it making sense – both are very loyal people of deep emotions.  I wish we’d seen more of the relationship, quite frankly, I think it could have been profound – and amusing.

Besides imagine the children – I want to see Worf raising a daughter! There’d be so much to explore of the character in that situation, as he seems to be extremely respectful of women and views them as equals, yet also I imagine he’s got a protective streak a mile wide.

Carolyn: I think of Star Trek—the original and the classic—in everyday life a lot. Either it provides lessons for me, or life reminds me of certain episodes. And, of course, as my husband loves to point out, the early cell phones were totally modeled on communicators. And this gender thing—great models, for me as a woman, and as a writer for sure. Do you think there is anything aspiring Fan to Pros, and in particular, aspiring writers, can take from it?  

Steve: Yes. Fiction, media, games, what have you does not just sit there.  It has a serious effect on us – from titillation to relaxation to education. You can inspire someone or shoot them down, you can give them a harmless time-killer or open their mind to pleasant or unpleasant truths.

Creators of media should be aware of this – we have an effect. You just want to make sure it’s one you want. Creators should also remember how important they are. We don’t just live in the world of Archimedes, of Albert Einstein and Bill Gates. We live in the world of Homer, J.R.R. Tolkein, Gene Roddenberry, and Joss Whedon. Those after us will not just live in the world we invent, they will make a world we inspire them to build with our writing and our poems and our games.

This to me is part of progeekery – taking our passions as far as possible.  When we do that, we build the world, and inspire the future.

Carolyn: I love this. Hey, thanks so much for stopping by an geeking out with me, Steve! You can visit Steven Savage at his blogFan-to-Pro, or his personal page, or find his book here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Newsy and exciting! Now updated with mystery veggies

First off, I learned this week that Double Cross, the sequel to Mind Games, was chosen as a TOP PICK by RT Book Reviews! I am so happy and excited! It's the first-ever review of Double Cross, and I was feeling so nervous. Well, I am still nervous, but now it's more excitedly nervous today...here, an excerpt from the review:
"Crane’s Midcity novels are full of zinging, compelling heroines and dark and dangerous heroes. The push and pull between Packard and Justine is heartwrenching and inspiring. This installment is packed with tension, laughter and the perfect touch of romance; readers will be waiting in line for Crane’s next one!" 
Double Cross: RT Rating: 4.5 stars - Top Pick 
Other news:
My cat Oblio has a new attention-getting technique for when I am at my computer: biting my elbow! LOL. And I think it is so cute, that I pick him up and pet him. This is why it's probably good I don't have kids.

I noticed today that I lost like 4 follo
wers off this blog this week, and I have this worry now that my "is your baby a demon or werewolf?" post might have upset people. But hopefully it is a coincidence!

My landlord is staining the deck outside, and I might be getting a little bit lightheaded from the fumes. That is going to be my excuse for the fact that I saw
this article on Diana Rowland's facebook page and I totally thought it was real. I wanted it to be true for about an hour this morning.

Vixen Sophia and Amy aka tnsongbird are having a fresh and fun chat about Mind Games today
over at Fiction Vixen !!

Rebecca at Dirty Sexy Books has
a ton of cool newsy items in this post, and also, stop by for her book club Monday, for a discussion on Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta.

have some very ambitious plans to do two highly elaborate book trailers today. AND, I have regressed on pull-ups; now I can only do 1.5. Do I have to change my progress meter? Noooooo! 

Are these tomatoes? They seem a bit tomatoey, yet strangely not. 
Late addition: Can anybody tell me what these vegetables are? Somebody gave them to us, and I might use them for salsa...maybe. I sort of think the green things are tomatoes of some sort, but I'm really not sure. Any insight and eating hints greatly appreciated!!
Very confused. These look like peppers, but the skin is not smooth like a pepper.
Tape dispenser is there to suggest size, not because we are slobs.
Okay, we are. But, that's not why it's there. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The baby babble conversation: innocent mimcry or ancient demon language? Tests to see if your baby is a paranormal creature!

Congratulations to  Jackie of Literary Escapism! In celebration of the arrival of Simon, the newest member of the Literary Escapism team (who I'm sure will be tons of help with the blog!) I'm visiting over there today, and I have provided Jackie with three handy tests to see if the little one will grow up to be a paranormal creature.  

It's coming!... 
Speaking of releases, Chosen, the next Anna Strong comes out at the end of this month, August 31!!! Not too long ago, Anna Strong was named Best Fantasy Protagonist by RT Reviewers, and wow, this hotly anticipated addition to the series is getting rave reviews all over.

And here...from the blurb: Anna's "primitive vampire instincts are getting harder to control. And a new enemy wants to take advantage of that fact."

Yay. LOL. The internal struggle with an outside foreboding threat. I love plots like that!!

Congrats to KT Grant!
Also, congratulations to my pal KT Grant, whose For the Love of Mollie hit the #1 spot for the best selling chick lit romance ebook, and top ten in the Rubenesque Romance ebooks at All Romance! More here....

The Bitten by Books discussion
Also, I'm psyched that Mind Games is the topic of this week's Weekly Book Chat at Bitten by Books! Drop by and give your two cents

Image: Happy Smiling baby by D Sharon Pruitt from Wikimedia Commons. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

You should write a story about THAT, Carolyn!!

A funny thing happens to you when you are a writer, or when you tell people that you want to be a writer - suddenly, people tell you stuff that happened to them, and that you should write a story about it...more

Hey I'm over at Paranormal Haven today, talking the twists and turns story ideas can take...and my grandmother's unexpectedly popular big idea!! Come say hi! 

Image from www.flickr.com/photos/thumbling/92500412/ Lion at Masai Mara Park, Kenya Author: Wouter van Vliet

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Messed-up alpha hero moments that I love

I'm over at Book Faery Tori's blog today for her blowout Battle of the Sexies event, a month-long extravaganza covering all things alpha hero and alpha heroine. There have been lots of fun visitors and posts!

Anyway, today I'm over there talking about my favorite messed up Alpha Hero moments!! 

It's my private little walk down memory lane of all the screwed-up behaviors of heroes that I nevertheless inexplicably love. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Come say hi!! If you leave a comment, you might win a book! Merry Christmas!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hi-ya! Mini round-up

Latest freak-out book news
Double Cross is heading to the printer soon. Author Carolyn Crane, the ultimate reviser, gets to revise no more. But that's okay! Color me feverishly excited.

Work on as-yet-unnamed book #3 is progressing well - I'm a good halfway through it, and have outlined all the way to the end like the plotter that I am, and there is so much drama in it. Part of me is so excited about what I have planned, but part of me is like, am I writer enough to pull it off? I think it will be really challenging, but I think that is okay. I think it is important for a writer to challenge herself to do things she thinks she maybe can't do. LOL. Is this even interesting? I'm on sleep deprivation program over here.

I am also several chapters into a secret PNR project that is like the funnest and wildest toy ever. And a little smutty. Okay, a lot.

Cool and excellent places to visit and things to do
Hey! Stop over at  Caitlin's Vision Quest Fail today. We've got an interview going on where you can get the scoop on what's up with the beret, the evolving role of Simon, writing quirks, and more! Also, you can win a signed copy of MIND GAMES!!

Also, I'm really psyched that MIND GAMES is Spinecracker's Virtual Book Club pick this month! Discussion kicks off on September 3rd. It should be a great group! Check out her post on it today.
So exciting! 
Carolyn Crane has been all work and no play lately. I spent the past week and weekend in my other superhero identity as master of the case-study-writing and corporate-website-writing universe. However, I did get a run in and then I worked on my pull-ups challenge, and guess who did TWO? LOL. And the evil humidity finally broke and I feel human again. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Image: Hobby Horse by Photographer, Ch.R. Hamacher, from wiki commons.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Random notes from the road

Hey everyone! I'm out on an in-laws-visiting trip in the Monterey, CA area. The weather here is crisp and cool and not humid at all, and makes me want to go outside and run around in excited little circles.

I have several things on my ereader - I meant to bring the rest of Joanna Bourne's Forbidden Rose, but it was SO goddamn exciting, I decided I shouldn't read it the night before we left, because we had to get up so early, and I forgot it! Characters were left in such dire and dramatic circumstances. Nooooo!

Onto the random items:
1. What is UP with self flushing toilets? They are always at these airports now, and they seem to be gaining in popularity. Who thinks this is a good idea? It really steams me when the toilet flushes like five times for every once I use it. Isn't water getting scarce? Wait, is this TMI? Sometimes my judgement isn't as crisp on vacay.

2. Here is a picture of the lodge we are at, up the road from the in-laws. It is called Los Laureles, and it used to be the Vanderbilts' horse stables. It's pretty nice, except there is no coffee availability until 8 am California time, which is a major problem for an early rising, crabby-in-the-morning girl from Minnesota. And no, there are no coffeemakers in the room. This time around, I brought Starbucks instant coffee packets, and made my own damn coffee with hot tapwater. I like the idea that horses used to have the room.

3. You know how, on hotel bedside light fixtures, they have those little metal on-and-off knobs that you turn? And they give this super crisp snick? I love those. I find it satisfying to work them.

4. New findings! I have discovered that, if I have an annoying song lodged into my head, the song Benny and the Jets totally knocks it out. An evil-song-dislodgement powerhouse! Which is surprising, being that I don't even know the words, beyond the chorus. I think it has to do wth the strange beat. Also, what a great song, anyways.

5. There is a rooster that crows here, but it does not say cock-a-doodle-doo? Who ever thought a rooster says that? Mr. Crane and I had a whole conversation about this, and he pointed out that a rooster really says arr-arr-arr-arr-arr. I think cats also say that, or more, rawr, rather than meow, but he feels cats do sometimes enunciate meow. This is the sort of conversation we would never have if not on vacation, in these weird limited-time limbos between in-law whirlwinds of activity.

6. Reading The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole. The set-up she creates in this story, which I have only just started, is quite surprising. I'm excited to see what happens, and impressed anew by her as an author. Oh, Kresley, you are just the supreme master of the fabulous set up.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cool things happening in Mind Games Land!

Okay, first, if you HAVEN'T yet read Mind Games, fabu blogger Ali of Simply Ali (she also reviews for Joyfully Reviewed) is giving one away one copy in a quickie contest that ends Thursday! Go say hi and enter!

Online book clubs that are reading Mind Games 
If you have read it, and have some rants, raves, anti-beret tirades or unwholesome thoughts about Simon to share, there are some really fabulous book clubs going.

1. A section by section discussion of Mind Games, on now: Melissa from My World in Words and Pages and Robyn from The Bookaholic Zone are reading section by section - the first section discussion kicked off at Melissa's Thursday, and anybody is welcome to join in! 

 by Amber Scott,  inventor of the pay-it-forward read
2. A discussion at the end of August, with Literary Escapism's book club, on Goodreads: This is a group anybody can join, moderated by fun & savvy UF readers Jackie, Jennifer and Tricia. Check it out here!

Amber Scott's "Project Pay it Forward"
This is one of the coolest ideas I've come across for a while - writer Amber Scott (her latest, Play Fling, is available in print and ebook at the usual stores, as well as Smashwords) started it with Gini Koch's Touched by an Alien, where she was so impressed, she bought three copies for three friends, sending them out with instructions for them to "pay the book forward" to another friend. And in each book, she sticks a note, and the friends record their experiences, and also report back to her blog. At the end, the book travels back to the author.

Anyway, she's starting it again, with two new books - Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison and Mind Games! I think it's an absolutely lovely and wonderful thing for one author to do for another. Gah! So psyched. So, I'll check in and keep tabs on the travels of these copies! (read about the inception of the project here).

This is such a wild travel month! Mr. Crane and I are back from a visit to Wisconsin to visit my mom and sisters and their families. It was a super fun weekend, and the group of us (minus Mr. Crane) went to see Wicked, which was wickedly awesome. The first act had me on the edge of tears - oh, I am such a sucker for the hope and despair of the underdog! My only thing with it was that, the places where it intersected with Wizard of Oz seemed to bring it down, and sort of burden the storyline. But overall, I thought it was wonderful.

This coming weekend, we are visiting Mr. Crane's parents in California (the Monterey area). His sister will be there, too, and I understand there will be UFC fights watched. Popcorn will be eaten. Much catching up and visiting. And NO HUMIDITY!