Sunday, May 29, 2011

A completely narcissistic post about ME!

So, you bloggers out there probably know how this goes, when it's been soooooo long since you blogged, you just feel all voodoo about it. Like, I have to get something amazing up! I have to pre-write a bunch of posts and bank them! Really get back in the swing!

 How did it get to be TWO WEEKS since I blogged? Well, this is one of those posts where I just post any old thing to get back in the blogging swing. A life update!

The fabulous Mr. Crane in our not-yet-fabulous living room.
Part of my reason for not blogging: we moved across town. Exactly 2 weeks ago. Oh, what a trying two weeks. We're still partly in boxes, but mostly unpacked. As you see from this photo, we have kind of slopped our furniture in a circle while we put away other stuff. I guess the aesthetics will come last!

Before this, Mr. Crane and I were renting a lovely apartment in a kind of fabulous and fancy area of Minneapolis, and we just bought this condo in a less fancy area, but it is so much funner here! And we are living in almost half as much space, but it's ours, dammit! And we are really loving it. And there are awesome coffee shops and restaurants around here. Last night I said to Mr. Crane, we should go sit on our stoop and play Scrabble. That's not something we would have done in our old neighborhood. Our old neighborhood was mostly young upscale families; our new one has has people of all ages and backgrounds. The only downside is that it's not within walking distance of a supermarket.

Reading two wonderful books
 I'm reading two wonderful books right now: J.A. Saare's DEAD UNDEAD OR SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN and Meredith Duran's WRITTEN ON YOUR SKIN. Both delicious and excellent in their own ways. One of these days, I'll update my goodreads account with all the books I've been reading.

A good book of the kind I won't read again 
I recently finished a very gripping suspense book, I guess I'd call it romantic suspense, but edging on regular suspense. Kind of serial killer suspense by a well-known author everyone loves. I think I need to think hard about what kind of romantic suspense I read. This one was really dark, like the movie SEVEN. And, while I hugely admired how well paced and excellently written it was, and I was really compelled by it, looking forward to reading it--gripped by it, even--it nevertheless felt like a joyless, even soulless read. Have you ever had a read like that? Where you're consuming this dark content, and it's compelling, but not necessarily good for you?  

The stretch of days I was reading this one book, I felt uninspired at writing, and was in a kind of glum overall mood. It could have been the stress of moving, but part of me blames that book. It's funny, because there's romantic suspense I love, like Jill Sorenson's stuff, or Shiloh Walker's, which both tend to be more character focused. But this was too much, I think, for my temperament.  

I have these two grocery bags full of books I'm going to sell to the best used bookstore in all of the Twin Cities, the Paperback Exchange (and snap up every Anne Stuart and Laura Kinsale in the place!) and I put this book in, as well as the next book in her series, unread. Okay, now I'm rethinking it. It was a really compelling book...but I think it's better this way. 

WTF! I'm talking to YOU, CDs!
So, I unearthed a good deal of forgotten items during the move, including cassette tapes from the pre-CD  Pleistocene erae. One of them was this Leonard Cohen tape I hadn't played in years, with The Only Ones on the other side. I'd probably played it thousands of times, and I played it three times more and it still sounded fabulous. Lord forbid I try to play an old CD. Half my CDs have gone to hell from overplay, but that has NEVER happened to a cassette. Who of you are old enough to remember thinking CDs were a big scam? Guess what: they WERE!

This is the worst winter and spring in Minnesota  ever. Horribly cold, followed by horribly gray and rainy and cold with a dollop of tornadoey. I had the space heater on this morning! Back when we were renters, we would be like, let's move away to California, dammit! But now that we have a condo, we can't play that game. 

This is what I wish I'd had for dinner instead of a salad.
Three bags of popchips, or else a pizza.  
Carolyn so crabbins
I spent the winter eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and now I'm all complainy...I'm sure you can guess why. Tonight I really wanted to eat pizza, or else popchips, but instead I had a salad for dinner. I am very unsatisfied. Sometimes it's a good idea to ignore those cravings, but tonight, I should've given in. I feel like my dinner was cold and wet, and I wanted needed some form of hot /crunchy/salty.

As long as I'm going down this more shallow subject area road, I will say that the lighting in our new bathroom is NOT flattering. I was thinking the other day, well, maybe that's what I really look like, and my old bathroom lighting was falsely flattering. But, I think I want to get back falsely flattering lighting. Because...why the hell not?

I am polishing up the still unnamed book #3, which I am really excited about. I have come to think of this book as a combination of Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty. But with lots of sex, violence, and paranormal goings-on.

I have two new series in the wings, and I am having a hard time deciding which to work on next, because I want to write both of them immediately. Wild & Steamy, the anthology I'm doing a disillusionists novella for, which also features Meljean Brook and Jill Myles, will likely be coming out early July instead of June now. I'm really looking forward to that. And I also have crazy-exciting-to-me news that might not be anything and I can't talk about it yet!

Whew! Look! This is a MAJOR blog entry! I have broken the no-blogging spell! Thank you dear readers, for bearing with me!

I hope you all have a fabulous and safe Memorial Day. XXOO Carolyn

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Various moving dramas & casualties...with tell-all photos!

Moving week. Feeling strangely calm about it all, even though things are so chaotic. Also, I finished a major phase of a novel, so this is a natural stopping point. At least my writing life is ship-shape.

I was sad to have to put this awesome chair (above) out on the curb, because I've always loved the blocky mid-century shape of it, (plus, it's corduroy!)  but it's pretty destroyed, and actually, not that comfortable. When I have clothing I haven't worn and enjoyed  in a year, it's time to give it to the thrift store. That goes the same with furniture, and Mr. Crane and I never really sit in this chair. And the cat eats the stuffing out of it. 

Pictured on the chair are my orphan socks! I have been hauling around a GIANT bag of orphan socks through many moves. The bag has grown and grown, to the size of a basketball. That stops here! I have a dream of washing all socks and mating them or out they go. Will my dream come true?

Oh, how the movers will love us! Here, Mr. Crane's wall of books, packed. And, I'm slowly adding to this from my own bookcases. Sometimes I put boots and shoes in with the books because I feel sorry for the movers for the heaviness of these boxes. 

I spent the last couple years with the second bedroom as my own private office, and Mr. Crane had a corner of the living room. In our new condo, Mr. Crane gets the second bedroom as his office and I get a corner of the living room. Because that's how we roll! Share and share alike.

The only problem: ART. As readers of this blog know, Mr. Crane finds Little CJ (above, the portrait of me as a child painted by a great aunt) to be super creepy. He feels my childhood eyes follow him around the room. Little CJ has hung in my office these past years. Where to put her now? 

Carolyn: Let's put her in the living room!
Mr. Crane: No way are we putting little CJ in the living room.  
Carolyn: How about the bedroom?
Mr. Crane: Not if you ever want to have sex again. 

Above, a pictorial representation of Mr. Crane and my art tastes. The gray areas on the right represent art and photos I enjoy and Mr. Crane does not enjoy. Little CJ would fall into this area. On the left gray side, art and photos that Mr. Crane enjoys that I do not enjoy and do not want to sit around staring at. The white area is where we agree, and the subset of art and photos we may have in shared spaces. 

Above, an old, hand-drawn medical chart a friend rescued from a garbage behind the University Medical school building. There were a bunch of them, all apparently drawn by long-ago students for some important project. It is one of the coolest pieces of art I own, and takes up a great deal of wall space in my office. These little drawings are strange and fantastical to me. I don't know what they are (and I don't want to, so if you know, please don't tell me.)  

Detail from my Echin0dermata chart. #12 puts me in the mind of Horton Hears a Hoo. #13 feels sort of Star Trek. One of the most mysterious ones is #20, lower right corner. I just love this piece! Unfortunately, this awesome thing will be joining Little CJ in a dark storage space. 

 My ironic Unicorn-with-unicorn-baby-in-a-glade picture. I don't have to tell you where that is going.

I feel okay about rotating art. We have lots of excellent stuff we both love to look at to put up on the walls. The time for these pieces will come around again. Okay, I'd better back to packing. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday stuff: Disillusionist ebooks available globally, genre cats, & the awesome Harper Blaine tour!

Disillusionist ebooks - now available all over the GLOBE!
This is the international ebook
cover for Double Cross
Doesn't it sound massive when I say it like that? But, it is massive, to me. For way too long, people living outside of North America and various related territories were unable to purchase and download Mind Games or Double Cross ebooks. 

This is the international ebook
cover for Mind Games
That is all changed! My books are now (or any day now, depending on the site) available on all the major international sites where you can get ebooks, and they are available NOW right here at Untreed Reads for just $4.99 each. You can choose whatever format you please, and buy them if you live in the places where it wasn't originally published.

I'm grateful to Untreed Reads for putting them out like this. It was a tricky operation (to me, anyway) because, they had to be reverse geographically restricted, that is, not available where the other versions were available, because that would infringe on my original publisher's territory.

Genre Cats
I love Tez Miller's new Tumblr site, Genre Cats. It's all pictures of genre authors and their kitties. One of these days, I'm going to get Mr. Crane to do some photos of us. I realized I have millions of pictures of my babies, but none of us together.  

Every time I write about my cats, I think, I need to stop talking about my cats so much. But as you can see, I can't seem to. 

Walking Tour of Harper Blaine's neighborhood in Seattle! 

Kat Richardson has made a Greywalker walking tour of Private Investigator Harper Blaine's Pioneer Square neighborhood! It's  pictures and voice over of various places in Seattle that feature in the series (which I would highly recommend. After being dead for two minutes and the resuscitated, Harper Blaine finds she can interact with the 'grey' - the layer between our world and the supernatural one. This talent of hers makes her a very unusual private detective. Awesome UF gumshoe series.)

Anyway, you can download the cell phone tour here and actually walk it if you're in Seattle, or you can just view the embedded version. This is such a boon for Greywalker fans! It's a kick to see where Harper Blaine works and the sites of various events and hear Kat talk about them. Also, you learn a some interesting things about Seattle. More on Kat's site. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Saturday giveaway of recent releases on my radar...

I haven't done one of these for a while, and some very exciting books have been popping up, written by pals, cohorts, and a few authors I'm plain old fangirlish on. Hooray for a bounty of books! 

Hounded by Kevin Hearne
This new release by fellow leaguer Kevin Hearne has been getting total rave reviews for awesomeness and hilarity...and I understand that Little CJ is hoping to get an interview with him soon.  

The blurb: 
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

The Cold Kiss of Death by Suzanne McLeod (Spellcrackers #2)

I recently started the first Spellcrackers book, The Sweet Scent of Blood, and I'm really into it. I love the main character, as well as McLeod's awesomely inventive version of a London that contains trolls, goblins, fae and more. I have to say also, McLeod really knows how to interestingly raise the stakes! Oh, I totally didn't mean that as a pun. 


The blurb: When sidhe-blooded Genny Taylor's friend is murdered and all evidence points to her, she goes on the run. But she's being pursued by some of the most powerful supernaturals in town-and one of them is most certainly the killer.

Three to Tango by Emma Holly, Lauren Dane, Megan Hart and Bethany Kane
I have been very interested in checking this one out, all the more so since Susi and Lea over at Book Lovers Inc. called it one of the best anthologies they've ever read. Yee ha!

The blurb: Four of erotic fiction's most talented authors carry readers away with all-new tales of ecstasy that prove that the most delectable things in life come in threes...

In Emma Holly's FLIPPING FOR CHELSEA, Shay and Liam shared an unforgettable night with their lifelong friend, Chelsea, awakening a rush of forbidden feelings--feelings they have to reckon with when the three reunite, and the unrequited lust between them is too much to bear.

Though Ava left her hard-knock Georgia childhood behind, she never forgot Luca and Angelo. Together they were best friends with a bond that could never be broken. But when she returns, the three must decide whether to face the fires that burn between them, or forgo their desires forever in Lauren Dane's DIRTY/BAD/WRONG.

In Megan Hart's JUST ONE NIGHT, fun-loving couple Kerry and Jeremy find themselves in a triangle of trouble when Kerry's old crush, Brian, returns for a school reunion, and Jeremy gives her his enthusiastic approval to seduce him. But while Jeremy has no trouble sharing Kerry, Brian isn't sure he can handle what's coming.

Years ago, Walker walked out on Madeline when she needed him most. Now, the ex-Secret Service agent is back--hired to protect Madeline by her billionaire boss, Tony. Madeline is determined to make him pay for denying her desires--and she's not above bringing Tony in to sweeten the deal in Bethany Kane's ON THE JOB.

Master and Apprentice by Sonya Bateman (Gavyn Donatti #2)
The Djinn series by fellow leaguer Sonya, who is also my agent mate! I just got the first book in this series. I feel certain that if my agent embraced this series, I will too. Also, I'm really in the mood to read about Djinn!

Luck has never been on Gavyn Donatti’s side. Anyone else with magic abilities inherited from a distant genie relative would have it made, but not Donatti, descendant of a cranky, shape-shifting genie named Ian. The prince of a murdered kingdom, consumed with revenge and driven by an unbreakable curse, Ian is determined to hunt down and destroy every last one of his enemies in the power-hungry snake clan—at any cost, including his life. Or Donatti’s.

Obsessed by his own rage, Ian has never really taught Donatti how to use his abilities. So when a powerful cult of magic-users captures Ian’s wife, the princess Akila, and then Ian himself, Donatti is left alone to take on dozens of half-djinn and their mysterious leader with designs on world domination.
Facing an impossible mission, Donatti is forced to turn to an enemy for help—one who claims to know how to unlock his true potential. Trusting a snake might be the last mistake Donatti ever makes—but if he doesn’t learn to wield the power inside him, everyone will pay the ultimate price.

Dead, Undead or Somewhere in Between by J.A. Saare
I gladly, lavishly, happily give in to peer pressure at all times! Which is why I've got this long-awaited re-up of the big wild favorite of a lot of my online pals on top of my TBR pile. I have been wondering from afar what makes people so crazy about this hero, and soon I will find out. I am in the mood to be crazy about a hero.   

The blurb: One bad corpse can ruin your whole day.
No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy. She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance, she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her--until now.

The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no. But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.
Shady Lady by Ann Aguirre (Corine Solomon #3)
I'm heavy into this series, and I've been reading that people are considering this one the best of the bunch. I love when a series just ramps like crazy.  

The blurb: Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she's running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon.

Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her--but they don't just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests--anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one...

Sleeping with the Frenemy by KT Grant!
KT! My galpal KT, one of the loveliest and now most prolific
authors I know. Okay, like so many above, I haven't read yet this...but who can resist a good starting-a-new-secret-life F-F romance?  

The blurb: Deborah Murnay has a life most women would die for. She has a loving wife of four years who gives her anything she wants. But, Deborah hides a dark secret. Her wife Genevieve not only enjoys kinky, dangerous sex, but is insanely jealous and possessive. When a violent argument between the two leaves Deborah bruised and battered, she has no other choice but to run away.

Through some intricate planning on Deborah’s part, she’s able to trick Genevieve into thinking she’s dead. Deborah becomes Sharon Wade and ends up hundreds of miles away in the small town of Woodberry Creek where she can start over again, even though she lives in fear that Genevieve will find her and kill her.

When grade school teacher Bridgette Woodberry notices her new neighbor, she quickly figures out Woodberry Creek’s new resident is hiding something. Deborah knows she can’t have a future with Bridgette, but finds herself attractive to the kindhearted redhead whose kisses and warm embrace makes her feel protected.

Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole (Immortals After Dark #10)

My favorite ever series...and look, another book in it! What can I say but sigh. Gasp. Sigh sigh sigh. Actually, maybe I'm a bad fan since I haven't even started it yet. But I think about it a lot.


Murdered before he could wed Regin the Radiant, warlord Aidan the Fierce seeks his beloved through eternity, reborn again and again into new identities, yet with no memory of his past lives.

When Regin encounters Declan Chase, a brutal Celtic soldier, she recognizes her proud warlord reincarnated. But Declan takes her captive, intending retribution against all immortals—unaware that he belongs to their world.

Yet every reincarnation comes with a price, for Aidan is doomed to die when he remembers his past. To save herself from Declan’s torments, will Regin rekindle memories of the passion they once shared—even if it means once again losing the only man she could ever love?

Giveaway time! 
Okay, you can win one of these books! (Or the first book from one of these series, if you haven't started the series yet). Directions:

1. Leave a comment, any comment - you can talk about any or all of the books, or you can talk about your cat or whatever you want! Your comment doesn't have to say what book you'll choose.

2. You have to leave your comment here on the blog - if you are seeing this on Goodreads or Facebook, come over, cover over, Red Rover!

3. Make sure your email is in the comment, or else that I can find it by clicking on your name.

4. Live somewhere in the world where book depository ships.

I will choose a winner next Saturday (May 14th) when I sit down with my tea and oats. I will email that person and ask what book they want. Hey, Happy Saturday everyone! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

At the league...discussing my super-brilliant early writing career!

I'm over at the League of Reluctant Adults blog today blogging about writers with side jobs, my advertising writer side job in particular, and some of my sillier creations in my first year when I was an intern at this one agency.

This post came about when I was cleaning out an old filing cabinet in preparation for our move...oh, it's a long story, all told here...