Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Release day! Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

I had the pleasure of devouring this very awesome book ahead of time, and look! It's finally out! Our newbie author Jenn is enjoying the breathless, nerve-wracking, can't-concentrate-on-anything, gimme-that-chocolate  release day experience!

The only way I would love this book more is if my blurb was on the FRONT like Karen Chance's and Ann Aguirre's. Am I not more famous than those two losers? What? I'm not? Not at all? LOL.

Here's my blurb: 
"Delicious characters, fun twists, and fiendish risks…this smart, stylish debut really delivers. Loved loved loved it!" ~Carolyn Crane

I was so not being full of crap on that blurb. I found this to be a riveting and highly swashbuckling read with great characters, plus a magical storyline that took me off the beaten UF path. Really, I thought the worldbuilding and the engineering of the magical workings were just wonderful. Then there’s the single father hero who has absolutely great chemistry with our intrepid heroine - I really enjoyed him! There is also a fabulous frenemies storyline that I found to be understated and very hilarious. And of course, a fine and twisty plot. Hello! Can’t wait for this next one. 
Okay, the official blurb:  
Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge. 
But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires.  
Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.
INSTANT CONTEST ALERT!!!  Leave a comment and I'll draw one winner tomorrow afternoon at 4 pm CST and send them a copy of this awesome book (International welcome). 

The rest of you will have to buy it from your neighborhood bookstore or online. Luckily, it's easy! A measly eight bucks for hours of pleasure. Buy links from Jenn's page:  AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORYBARNES & NOBLE | BORDERS | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND | POWELLS |MYSTERIOUS GALAXY | CHAPTERS (CANADA) 
PDF Download of First Chapter here. More on the elusive Jenn Bennett here. Read a review here.
PS: why do my fonts and spaces look so crazy and messed up? *shakes fist in mute anger at Blogger*

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday things: Interview, antho release dates & kitties!

July 25
Interview! I'm over at the awesome Romance Books forum doing a fun interview - Alix and I are talking superhero skills, having scandalous thoughts about anatomy (at least I am; Alix wisely stays mum!), the difference between writing a novella and a series, the song I will always sing aloud when I hear it, and some of the thinking behind Mind Games, Double Cross and the Disillusionists Trilogy...and so much more. Come say hi! 

Release dates: The two anthologies I'm in have new release dates. The wonderful, wonderful Wild & Steamy will be coming out July 25th (if not before, but for sure by then).

And, Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance has been pushed back to summer of 2012 - a year later than planned. *sob* I was really excited for it to come out, because it was the first non-disillusionists thing I'd written for publication and also, the first short I've written since the dawn of time. (I actually called my writer friend to ask what the goal is with a short story - she had this whole explanation on everything turning on a moment.) And, when you're a writer (or at least, when you're me) you want to instantly share everything you have written, because that is exciting and fun (unless people hate it!). Well, when Ghost finally does come out, maybe it will be like finding a forgotten Kit Kat candy bar in my purse.

Kitties: I had a busy weekend, but not as busy as the kitties, who were working really hard on their cuteness skills. Momma is so proud!

Have a nice week, everyone, and if you're going to RWA, I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful time (she says as her complexion turns ever so faintly green). I await pictures! I will live the dream through your pictures!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Great moments in last night's reading: immersion vs travelogue in UF world-building

Gah! I've been so swamped, I haven't done one of my great moments posts forever, and I have tons of great moments I've made notes for to talk about. Okay, this one is from last month. 

Great Moments from Last Night's Reading
Book: The Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne McLeod
Page: 61
Spoiler level: zero

There’s a certain sly element of cool in Suzanne McLeod’s The Sweet Scent of Blood. I was thinking today about how she achieved it, and in part, I feel like she does something that a lot of my favorite ultra-contemporary, high-realism cable dramas do, like THE WIRE, or the movie INCEPTION, for example, in the sense that you’re admitted into a world, but not given a whole travelogue about it.

This creates a sheen of otherness, and so part of the fun and dazzle is to behold all the people and strange goings-on and piece things together. By the end, you get the ins and outs and back alleys, and it’s kind of satisfying. 

I don’t mean that the plot is hard to follow, though it’s certainly more complex than most, but more that you get the world through immersion.

This is especially true with the small details—the surface details. I was absolutely thrilled with this underground ride our main character Genny took. These goblins come onto her car. Gazza is a jerk. We’ve seen goblins before in the book - as literal minded bodyguards - but suddenly there are these other kinds of goblins. Here, the passage:
...His white translucent ears flicked like a rat’s and he clutched a gold lamé satchel tight to his chest, almost obscuring the London Underground badge on his navy boiler-suit – a gold embroidered ‘G’ that marked him as a Gatherer.
He slid a thin grey finger down his twitching nose. ‘Rubbish, miss.’ 
My disguise wasn’t good enough to trick a goblin, or even a vamp – not that it mattered. It was only the witches I was trying to fool. 
I shook my head at the goblin, then touched my own nose in reply. 
He patted the flap of his satchel. ‘Thankee, miss.’ 
The goblin clomped along to Gazza, his trainers flashed green with every step. ‘Rubbish, mister.’ 
Gazza sneered again. ‘Bugger off, you little creep.’ 
The goblin grinned up at him, baring black serrated teeth, three of them studded with square-cut garnets. He opened his mouth wide, leaned forward and snapped his teeth together with a loud crack, right next to Gazza’s cheap PVC-covered groin. ‘Rubbish, mister,’ he demanded.
Huddling against the door, his eyes wide, Gazza fumbled in his coat pocket, found something and offered it warily to the goblin. A stick of chewing gum, still wrapped.
Thin fingers plucked at it, then tucked it away inside the gold lamé satchel. ‘Thankee, mister.’ The goblin stamped his feet, leapt onto a seat and curled up in a ball, his arms hugging tight around his bag.
And that, to my memory, is the first and last we see or hear of these freak-ay goblin trash gatherers. Why are they asking people for trash? Why do they have gold lame satchels? What is the deal with the goblin stamping his feet, leaping onto a seat, and curling into a ball hugging his bag?

You never find out, and I absolutely loved that, because it made this strange world truly strange. If this was key to the plot, I might feel mystified or even left behind, but it’s not key to the plot. So it just became this quirky, random world detail that really made me as a reader feel like I’d gained entrée to a new land.

McLeod definitely takes a risk with this, because it’s such extreme ‘show-don’t-tell’, albeit for an insignificant surface detail.

I think a lot of other authors, including myself, might have given Genny some opinions about these guys as a way to guide the reader, like, “I don’t know what these goblins did with their trash or why the underground union employed them, but at least the cars were clean. Some speculated that… bla bla.” But wouldn’t that be boring? It is way cooler just to have them show up, collect trash that’s not even trash, and exit.

Because, isn’t how that is when you’re traveling in a foreign country? I enjoyed this effect. 

Image: The Fra Mauro map. Part of China. 1459, from Wiki Commons.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Shoes, character breakthrough, and revised thinking on high punctuation within dialogue

Character breakthrough.
I was doing some plotting and reworking on a part of my new paranormal series and had this breakthrough. Do you know the fable of the grasshopper and the ant?  I realized my hero in this book is the ant type, jealous of the grasshopper, and my heroine is the grasshopper type trying unsuccessfully to be the ant. Oh, this helps me immensely, you can't even know.

Stop the presses! I have revised my opinion on high punctuation in dialogue.
Re-reading Meredith Duran's Bound by Your Touch, a favorite book of mine. I usually hate high punctuation within dialogue (semicolon or colon) but I've changed my tune: now I hate it in all dialogue except a certain kind of playful facetiousness, like in this scene, such a fun one, where our hero, Sanburne is wasted at his own party and his sister, sitting down next to him on the stairs, tries to get his attention:
... Elizabeth's fingers fastened onto his upper arm, digging for attention. "Do you hear me? Are you awake?"
He was curious about that, too. "Are my eyes open?"
She made a noise of exasperation, then took his chin in her grip, yanking it up so their eyes met. "They are open," she said. "Behold: it is I." 
There could be no other punctuation there but a colon. The colon is perfect! Really, I just love this behold bit of hers. These two probably grew up reading books and seeing plays that contained that sort of language, maybe still do, and here it is as part of their humorous language, the way I sometimes sing to DH: Don't do the crime if you can't do the time from the TV show Baretta. (Yup, I'm in my 40s!) Anyway, I love when characters place themselves specifically in relation to their time, instead of simply being of their time.

Sometimes when I type these things out, I discover new wonderful treasures in the writing. Like those fingers, digging for attention. And the feel of this easy sibling relationship. You get so much out of this little exchange.

I go wildly back and forth on these shoes I got from a secondhand store. They are leather, made in Mexico, and brown, a favorite shoe color of mine. Sometimes I love them, and other times, I'm not so sure.

I am a fan of buckles on things, that is part of the attraction. And they work with bare feet. Today I love them.

Hey, happy Saturday everybody!
I have a big day job project to work on this weekend, but plan to get some novel writing in, and some exercise, and some quality time with the husband. Hmm, we'll see how that all works out. What are you all up to?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Disillusionists might become a TV show!

Like many Americans, I am a great fan of TV, and have many opinions and fierce attachments to various shows. So as you can imagine, I’m beyond thrilled that the Disillusionists has been optioned by the production company Fishbowl Media for possible development for TV!!

Here is the announcement from Publisher’s Marketplace:

Carolyn Crane's The Disillusionist Trilogy, about a psychological hit squad of misfits and neurotics who reform criminals by pumping them full of their negative energy, pitched as Heroes meets Inception, optioned to FishBowl Media, by Shari Smiley at CAA, on behalf of Cameron McClure at Donald Maass.
What what what will it be like?


When something gets optioned, it’s not actually sold. It’s more like the rights are rented for a year or some other specified time period. Fishbowl Media would use this time to work out and pitch the show to…um, I think networks. Then, if somebody picks it up, they would buy the rights.

I’m so excited to learn more about what they envision. I enjoyed Heroes, and I really REALLY enjoyed Inception. So I’m sure I’ll like what they have in mind.

Also, I’m burning with curiosity on how they’ll translate it to screen, because the books are quite psychological, but I'm sure they have ideas. And far more psychological books than mine have been made into shows and movies that I have come to love. My prime example is Remains of the Day. I was like, How the hell do you make that into a movie? But it was awesome.

Screenwriters and TV people bring new ideas and worldviews to books. Even though I would not be involved, I feel like they are sort of collaborators after my part is over.

Anyway, sometimes these options just run out and nothing happens at all, but still. Quite exciting! What are your favorite movies or TV shows that have been made out of books?

PS: I'm going out of town this weekend, so not around much. Also, don't forget to enter my contest below!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A very hexy release roundup...with contest!

So many exciting new releases by various pals, cohorts and people I admire from afar... Yee hah!  It's time for one of my roundup contests. And be sure and wear your anti-hex boots, because there is a definite theme here...

Hexes and Hemlines (A Witchcraft Mystery #3)
More from everybody's fave paranormal mystery series. I think I need to start shopping at Lily's store!!

BlurbWith her vintage clothing store taking off, Lily Ivory is finding that life in San Francisco suits her just fine. But her ability to sense vibrations from the past, so useful in locating secondhand gems, has landed her in the middle of a new mystery...

Lily gets called away from Aunt Cora's Closet when the police need a witch's take on a strange case. Malachi Zazi was stabbed to death in his apartment, under a ladder, surrounded by the number thirteen, a broken mirror, and a black cat—superstitions that the victim, as head of a rationalist society, was devoted to discrediting.

When the police identify a suspect from the Serpentarian Society, Lily is shocked to learn it's someone she knows. But with bad luck plaguing all its members, she begins to wonder if there's more at work than mere coincidence. And while there aren't many clues from the crime scene, Lily finds evidence of dark witchcraft and a hex on her friend's doorstep. With her friend's safety at stake, Lily is determined to use magic to find the murderer before everyone's luck runs out... Excerpt

Hexed - An anthology with novellas by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn , Allyson James, & Jeanne C. Stein
Blurb: Four of the bestselling names in romance and fantasy come together in this collection of thrilling novellas featuring powerful women who know how to handle a hex or two.

From Publishers Weekly - Bestsellers Andrews, Galenorn, James, and Stein serve up stories set in their established magical worlds in this entertaining urban fantasy anthology. In Andrews's Atlanta-based "Magic Dreams," shape-shifting white tiger Dali Harimau battles a dark force to save the man she loves. In Galenorn's "Ice Shards," Finnish house sprite Iris Kuusi travels to the frozen Northlands to break a curse and confront the evil shadow of her former lover. Stormwalker Janet Begay struggles to save herself and her friends when they become trapped in a cursed Arizona hotel in James's "Double Hexed." Stein rounds out the anthology with "Blood Debt," in which San Diego vampire Anna Strong saves an innocent man and winds up on trial herself. 
~not to be confused with...

Hexed by Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles Series #2)
Hits the shelves to the sound of rubbing hand and squeees...the fun continues...

BlurbAtticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

Hunter’s Fall (Hunters #5) by Shiloh Walker
Oh, Hunters series! Determined, embattled characters, great romance and inventive worldbuilding. 

Blurb: Nessa lost her memory following a near-death experience. Dominic is a Hunter dealing with his own problems with memory and sanity. When the two are put together to battle the forces of darkness-while trying to restore what they've lost-their all-consuming passion becomes an even greater unknown.

From Publishers Weekly: Nessa is an old, powerful witch thrust into a sexy new body still occupied by the taunting presence of its previous owner and possessed by murderous urges. Young vampire Dominic is plagued by erotic dreams about a beautiful woman who is both familiar and mysterious, much to his frustration and confusion. Aided by characters from previous series titles, Nessa and Dominic attempt to discover the truth behind their psychic connection before evil forces destroy them both. Complex personal histories and a very solid paranormal world add detail and intrigue as beautifully well-rounded characters reach for clarity…  Excerpt

Chicks Kick Butt (anthology) - eleven original stories by various fabulous authors, including my talented galpal Jeanne Stein!!

Editors note/blurb: Chicks are awesome—and never more so than when they are kicking some serious vampire/werewolf/demon/monster butt. Chicks Kick Butt is an anthology that features one of the best things about the urban fantasy genre: strong, independent, and intelligent heroines who are quite capable of solving their own problems and slaying their own dragons (or demons, as the case may be).

- Rachel Caine (with a story from her bestselling Weather Wardens universe)
- L.A. Banks
- Rachel Vincent
- Karen Chance
- Lilith Saintcrow
- Cheyenne McCray
- Susan Krinard
- Jeanne Stein
- Jenna Black
- Susan Krinard
- Jeanne Stein
- Jenna Black
- Elizabeth Vaughan
- Carole Nelson Douglas
- P.N. Elrod
- Nancy Holder

Nightfall by Ellen Connor (Dark Age Dawning #1)
Ellen Connor is the collaborative pen name of Carrie Lofty and Ann Aguirre. Shhhhhhhh! I'm really excited to check this out.

Blurb: First in a stunning new post-apocalyptic paranormal romance trilogy.
Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought in her wildest nightmares that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her-one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.

The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna's father. Skilled and steadfast, he's ready for the prophesied Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and mutant dogs attack-vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong.

When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion-a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.

Money Shot by Susan Sey
My own hometown RWA chaptermate Susan Sey has been getting tons of buzz for her smart, sexy, fun work. I'm excited to crack open this book, set on a frozen island in the middle of Lake Superior. I love the idea of a female Secret Service Agent, too.

Blurb: Secret Service Agent Maria "Goose" di Guzman is assigned to Mishkawa Island on a goose-chase of a case when she encounters a greater mystery in sexy park ranger Rush Guthrie.

From Fiction VixenAfter reading Money Shot, the second book from Susan Sey, I can say for sure that she writes easy to love heroes, has a talent for writing some good fun snark, and leaves me marking her books all over the place with possible favorite quotes.  Excerpt here

Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane (ebook)
I'm really curious and excited to read this new UF by one of the most vertsatile and sexy writers around.

Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation, she's a supercharged hunter with the power to slay any vampire who violates the age-old treaty.

A recent string of murders has her at odds with Las Vegas's new Scion, the arrogant and powerful Clive Stewart. The killings have the mark of Vampire all over them, and Rowan warns Clive to keep his people in line—or she'll mete out her own brand of justice.

Though her dealings with Clive are adversarial to say the least, Rowan is intensely aware of her attraction to him. But she can't let it distract her from her duty—to find and battle the killer before more women die.

Shimmerlight by Jill Myles (a 99-cent novella; a companion to the erotic time travel novella Mirrorlight)

Loving the sound of this plot! Freaky and fun...

Blurb: Chloe Sorenson's just started a brand new job at Ms. Muffet's art gallery. However, no one told her that the latest auction piece - a sculpture of a handsome Roman soldier - comes to life. Think it's hard to explain to your boss why you're fondling a statue? Try explaining to the statue why you're holding his, uh, fig leaf. Chloe never thought that touching the statue would turn him into a sexy, aroused man, but she's not saying no to this delicious Roman soldier. The curse requires that she touch him at all times? Such a hardship...

But there's a problem in their lust-fueled relationship; she's falling dangerously in love with a guy that cursed to be hard as a rock - literally - unless she can somehow free him. And the statue of Titus just went up for auction. If she doesn't do something, he's going to be out of her life and trapped for all eternity... available for here, here and elsewhere soon!

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).
ADDED: Anne Aguirre has generously offered up a copy of Nightfall! So I'll pick two random winners - one to win NIGHTFALL, and one to win any book of their choice. Thanks Anne!

1. Leave a comment, any comment - you can talk about any or all of the books, or you can talk about your cat or fear of hexes or anything! 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 TWO winners next week (June 14th) when I sit down with my tea and oats. I will email those people then. Hey, Happy release day everyone!