Saturday, July 30, 2011

Carter's rage-aholic-y travel guide to Midcity!

Wow! There's some crazy action over at All Things Urban Fantasy today... Disillusionist Carter, whose specialty is rage, is giving travel tips on:

  • Eating out in Midcity
  • Getting around in Midcity
  • Places to shop 
  • Safety tips! 
And giving away a copy of Wild & Steamy, which contains a stand-alone Midcity-based novella. Come join the fun! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Where is Wild & Steamy? The shame...and the contest!

Dear readers,

Perhaps you are wondering: WHERE the heck is the Wild & Steamy Anthology? The supposed Steampunk and Supernatural trio of novellas that a certain trio of supposed authors has been crowing about all these months?  Wasn't the release date supposed to be JULY 25th???

Yet it doesn't seem to be on Amazon, or Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords, or All Romance Ebooks or Apple or anywhere!! How can it be??

It's not ready!!!  We are sorry.
Release date: between now and August 3rd
Guess the time & date and win a copy!
We're editing, revising, proofing and formatting like crazy. We so badly want it to be perfect and awesome, and we underestimated the time we'd need. We really do apologize for putting an overly ambitious date up there. We're soooo close to done, we nearly made it, but we don't want to just slap it up there to make this deadline. We extension.

When will Wild & Steamy be released? We are sure we can comfortably have it out by August 3rd, 11:59 CST. Probably sooner, but August 1st is just to be safe. Which brings us to the contest!

Guess the new release date and win a copy contest! 
All we know is that Wild & Steamy will go up for sale between now and August 3rd, 11:59 CST--as soon as we have it right we're putting it up. But when? Take your best guess. We're giving away FIVE copies of the book to the FIVE readers who make the closest guess of when it will finally go up for sale out there! Enter the contest here.

Where sold: At some point before August 3rd, it will be available for Kindle at Amazon, Nook at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords & All Romance Ebooks (many formats) 

1. Guess the day and the time (CST) you believe the elusive Wild & Steamy will finally go up for sale. (example: July 28, 3:15 pm) in the comments on Jill's site here.
2. DO NOT MAKE YOUR GUESS HERE!  Make your guesses on Jill's site  - One guess per person.
3. Make sure we can get your email address by clicking on your name, or else put your email addy with the guess you make.
4. Winners will get to pick the format and so forth. If you don't have an ereader, you can choose a pdf if you like, and read it on a computer  or tablet. The winners will be announced when it goes up!!

Again, our apologies. Please know that we're hopoing to make it worth the wait.

Comments closed because you need to go to Jill's site to make your guess for a chance to win!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Random items of a Friday evening...

It may be old and dirty, but it works great,
and by god, it's kitty-proofed!! 
Well, there's one advantage to having a somewhat wee condo - you can cool it down with one window unit air conditioner and a fan. And as I said to a friend recently, chocolate does taste better in the heat. Melty chocolate!!

Don't laugh at my fan - it is an awesome fan. It's like 20 years old, and just so powerful. The plastic slats in the back got brittle and started breaking off a few years back, which wouldn't be that big a problem, except I worried the cats would stick their paws in, so, using the principle of darning socks, I kitty proofed.

Mr. Crane scorns this fan. He went out and got another fan a few years ago, a shiny new plastic thing, and it has already broken, but not this baby! It is now hard at work circulating the air. Can you believe this heat? I went running today and I still don't feel right. Totally brutal.

Do you do this - go through word phases, and you take a shine to a certain word and use it a lot? I'm going though that with the words wee and elsewhere. Wee I like for its subtle comic value. Wee really has tons of attitude; you find this out when you start using it.

But Elsewhere! This is a hell of a word. Coy and powerful. It forces sentences into a specific and singular order, and then it arranges their collar and makes them sit up straight. Like a mean, mysterious nanny. I am so into the word elsewhere.

Deadly Destinations
There's a really fun event this month over at All Things Urban Fantasy and Dark Faerie Tales called Deadly Destinations. It's authors being sort of summer tour guides to their novel settings and giving away tons of books. I'll be there in a week, giving away a copy of Wild & Steamy!!

More excellent series-kickoff books for temporary sunshine prices for kindle!
With all my ballyhooing of Nicole's cheapie dealio (see last post) I didn't realize TWO other leaguers have cheapie deals right now. Sunshine is on many shoulders!
I will admit this is a particularly insane detail;
note that a piece of the back is simply hanging
by the string. Well, it just is.
Three great opportunities to give three excellent, popular series kick-off books a test drive. I've heard this lasts through Sunday, and also, until the 27th. I don't know which thing is right.

A rare moment in the Crane household
I'm about to finish edits on the still-not-named book #3 which will fly into my agent's hands on Monday, and I recently finished a major part of a different new series project that is elsewhere.

So basically, on Monday, I will have a totally clean fiction plate, and I don't think the day job will be crazy. I think it's kind of a rare occurrence, and I'm excited for it. It means I can write whatever the hell I please during my special morning writing time. I have an idea for the best-ever new series, but I'm also thinking of doing a Simon novella, or doing a Christmas novella of some sort. I think I'll decide when I get there.

I'm such a fan girl of Joanna Bourne, I had to trot out to her blog to see just when the heck Adrian's book is coming out, a book I've been waiting for since like 2009 when Spymaster's Lady, one of the best books ever written, blew my socks off.

I found a treat there: the Adrian cover. And an excerpt. And it will be out in November!!! The heroine of this book is named Justine. A fine name, Ms. Bourne! Godspeed to you on the edits!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sunshine...on Nicole Peeler's $1.99 shoulder!

Good news! Nicole Peeler's first book, Tempest Rising, is a sunshine deal at Amazon for Kindle* - a  steal at $1.99!!  But only for the next week - it turns back into a pumpkin, albeit a delicious one, but a more expensive pumpkin, on July 27th. But right now, it's $1.99. 

FIVE reasons to try this series: 
  1. Awesomeness.   This series has taken its place in my pantheon of shiny, sexy, go-to series, right next to Kresley Cole's and Charlaine Harris's. Nicole is my galpal, but that's not why I'm saying all this - some of my galpals double as authors I love, and happily, Nicole is one of them.  
  2. Engaging heroine.  Jane True is a vulnerable, fascinating and totally compelling heroine. I enjoy her careful intelligence, as well as her unabashed love of eating and other sensual pleasures.
  3. Absorbing luv triangle.  This book featured my favorite kind of love triangle, where both options are hugely attractive, but you definitely know who the hero is. A very low-angst triangle that lets you stop and smell the roses. Smutty goodness all along the way.  
  4. Smart, surprising worldbuilding. This is a strong world. Nicole brings lots of knowledge to UF, and isn't afraid to toy with the tropes and pull out some very crazy kinds of creatures, either. So enjoyable.  
  5. It's just 1.99 at Amazon!! 
*You know what's funny? Ten years ago, the phrase "sunshine deal at Amazon for the Kindle" would have been total nonsense to me. But, then, so much would be. If I travelled back in time, I could really freak myself out!!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

My new skirt, a passive-aggressive conflict at the store, and a bit of flash! + a question

First of all, I hope everybody is feeling sorry for us poor folks in Minnesota - It was like 100 today, but the heat index was 120!!!

Okay, please wipe your tears now, because otherwise you won't be able to admire my awesome new woodland scene skirt!!! I so love it.  I got it at the used clothing store today. Somebody handmade it...I'm thinking out of curtains. It just feels like that.

I totally think the heat is affecting people. Today at that store...okay, I'll set the stage: it is pretty cramped in there, with racks all along the very long walls and the middle. There was this woman looking through the racks, making her way right to left, and I was going  the opposite way, left to right. Granted, I started looking after her, but there was a good deal of tundra between us when I started. Maybe ten feet!

Then, I'm, you know, riffling through the racks, making my way down, and I notice her just to my right, standing still as a statue, and sort of a step back from the rack. And I feel her eyes on me, burning into my neck, and I'm like, is something wrong? And she goes, You're looking right where I was going to look! And she was super mad. Usually at this store, you just swap positions, but she seemed really to think I was messing with her. So I said, look, I'll skip down. And she said, No, you can look there, and  I'll just wait here. That didn't sound very fun to me, so I skipped this whole section of rack.

So later, she's disappeared, and I revisit the section I skipped, and just then, she comes around a circular dress rack right behind it, and we're yet again on a collision course. I was completely in her way again. It was sort of funny, because, she really did think I was messing with her. I do think it's the heat!! 

My skirt is quite flash, don't you think? 
I don't know if I'm using that word right. I am reading Meredith Duran's amazing, glorious and riveting A Lady's Lesson in Scandal right now. I am richly enjoying every aspect of it. Especially the details of the working girl life, and the working girl slang. I love when the heroine says a thing is 'flash' like, oh this is a bit of flash, or, that skirt is real flash.

I was thinking that use of flash belonged specifically to that time period, but then yesterday DH and I were working out to Adam and the Ants and Adam used the word flash just like that in a song. Was Adam using it as an older word, or is it a modern UK usage? Do people walk around calling things flash? I think the song was about pirates, one of Adam's main obsessions. Maybe he was using the word flash as pirate lingo. Is this a word of pirates and guttersnipes of old, or what? UK friends, please advise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Confessions of a torrid eye cheater!

As a writer, I used to be a total snob about cheating on eye descriptions. Part of it comes from having worked for some years with a very exacting writing mentor. A brilliant and highly trained English fellow (and really, the best teacher ever) who would very nearly mock any liberties I took with eyes.

I used to be so pure about eye
descriptions. Now, not so much.

I can picture him now, my offending pages clutched in his hands: “His eyes were sad? What does it mean that his eyes were sad? His eyeballs, do you mean? Tell me, how do eyeballs look sad? They don’t get sad. Eyeballs are inanimate! Were there tears glistening upon them? Then you say that. Or is it the skin around the eyebrows that changed shape, creating a sad effect? Was his brow furrowed? Certain kind of frown?”

This whole thing made me really sensitive to writers cheating with eyes. Even some of my favorite writers, those I consider towering in their brilliance, cheat a bit. Even major huge NYT best-selling writers cheat quite boldly. This isn’t a real line, but stuff like this: “There was a stormy look in his eyes, chased by sorrow, and then a dawning recognition of what had come to pass in that room, after which his eyes were shuttered with hate.”

I would sometimes be darkly impressed by a line like that, a total sleight of hand that’s a blatant form of telling disguised as showing. A writer pretending to describe outward appearance, but telling a state of mind. And nobody made her rewrite it! And here I would be slaving over tears and hardened facial planes squinching eyes.

I really kept to my purity around eye description for a long time. I don’t believe you will find any eyeball liberties whatsoever in Mind Games, where I tended to rely a lot on widened and narrowed eyes, as well as gleaming eyes, and sometimes sides of eyes with little wrinkles of happiness. 

I recall doing one or two eye cheats in Double Cross and being thrilled nobody stopped me, because it really is convenient to cheat like that when you have a lot going in a scene. I didn’t cheat horribly, stuff like “a surprised light in her eyes.”

I have drunk the eye-cheat  Kool-aid. It's quite delicious! 
Light was kind of my gateway cheat. In real life, people can have a light in their eyes, but adding surprised is the cheat part—I mean, if you showed a lineup of eye photos, you wouldn’t be able to tell a surprised light from an angry light without the context of the face or situation. There simply is no such thing as a surprised light.

Anyway, I’m doing edits on book #3, and I was just laughing the other day, because I have totally started eye-cheating! Here, a selection of my cheats:
I keep a frantic eye on the air overhead.
Packard turns to me, and there’s a lonely light in his eyes.
Otto sits up, brown eyes glittering darkly.
Packard's lonely light is the boldest one--basically, I'm telling the inward state of the man by pretending to show it in the eyes. Okay, glittering darkly is pretty bad—that’s really about something going on in Ottos's face that I didn’t feel like getting into. Even that frantic eye on the air overhead is pretty slippery. My narrator is frantic, but the eye isn't. All in all, total cheater ways of sneaking state of mind into a physical description. But oh so convenient.

My name is Carolyn Crane and I am an eye cheater! 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condemning writers who eye cheat. (Especially since I have started!)  I mean, you can walk into any museum and see a good portion of beloved paintings that aren’t realistic whatsoever, and nobody’s going around like, that’s not a even what a hand looks like!

There are books on my loftiest keeper shelf (penned by writers whose feet I would kiss in a second if that sort of thing wouldn’t make me persona non grata at conventions) that contain the phrase “eyes were shuttered…”  Different writers are up to different things, and have different goals, and if an eye cheat works, it works. 

I just think it’s funny, because, if you knew how pure I used to be around it, you would totally laugh about the lonely light in Packard’s eyes, too. But, what the heck! I am keeping that lonely light line, and I might write more just like it.    

Public domain images from wiki commons: Anton van Dyck self portrait, The Eye by Haley Davis, Charles V at Muhlberg, eye detail, by Titian, Gjord i Jagsjalv 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gasp! Disillusionist trilogy coming to audiobook soon!

What will audio Justine be like? 
Well, the summer of exciting things (or at least, exciting-to-me-things) continues with Audible picking up the Disillusionist trilogy!

Which means that they are probably currently casting somebody to be the voice of Justine Jones.

What will this Justine be like? I have her voice in my head, but I could not tell you what it sounds like in the world. This is just so exciting. A voice actress will bring a whole new dimension of interpretation to the books. She will have to make choices on how to say each line. She will sort of have to decide what kind of person Justine is. The whole thing is both scary and wonderful.

All three audiobooks will be out this October. Which means, if you are an audiobook aficionado, the release of book #3 is a bit over a month early - digital comes out December 6, and later in 2012 for print.

I know the different release times of #3 may seem wacky, but my main aim has always been to make book #3 the best damn book I can write, and that the book would be available to the most readers in the most forms, and this is how I put it together…non linear as it may appear! And let me say, I am feverishly excited about #3.

 All three books will be available through (and, I think, all other online bookstores where Mind Games and Double Cross are sold, but I'm not entirely clear on the details - I'll post when I have more.)

Anyway, that is a new awesome thing at Casa Crane. If I get a sneak snippet of Justine's voice, I'll post it if I can. Eeeep!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All sorts of release week insanity at the league!

It's a major release week over at the League of Reluctant Adults! 

Read all about it, including Diana Rowland's tattoo challenge, which I'm sort of horrified-ly fascinated with. (She'll get the tattoo pictured right if she hits the NYT list with her White Trash Zombie novel!)

Plus, the lowdown on releases from Michelle Rowen, Kevin Hearne, KA Steward and Dakota Cassidy! Come on over for the deets.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mind Games & Double Cross International ebooks on sale this weekend!

Just a quickie update before I start my day: Mind Games and Double Cross ebooks are available for just $3.49 each - this weekend only - in whatever digital format you choose.

Now, these are the international editions, so, if you live in the US, Canada or the Philippines, this sale doesn't work for you. (Sorry!) Still, I think it's great that international readers get an advantage for once.

At right, this is what my international ebook covers look like!

UPDATE: Sale ended July 4th

Friday, July 1, 2011

What do tortured masterminds wear to the beach?

Come on over to Larissa's bookish life for a rare and kind of wacky summery interview with Sterling Packard! 

It's part of the Bookish Haven Summer Vacation Event, hosted by Larissa's Life and Paranormal Haven.

We're at the tail end of this event, but there is still plenty of fun--and prizes up for grabs--at both these awesome blogs. And come say hi to Packard and me here!