30 June 2010

Writing Conference Recap

So last month I was all excited to be going to the NJSCBWI Annual conference. I'd never been, never been able to afford it. This year was the first year it was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (which is really nice, if you ever get the chance to go). I had no idea what to expect.

I wish I had gone sooner.

I came back refreshed and newly excited about writing. Not only that, but I met a ton of industry professionals. They are totally real people. Sometimes I think those of us without agents or books at big NYC houses view agents and editors as unapproachable, mean people who want nothing more than to reject our work. But everyone I met was so very nice - I mean, they come to the conference because they WANT to meet writers, right?

The workshops were awesome as well. I went to a Master Class with Catharine Gilbert Murdock, author of Princess Ben. If you don't follow YA lit, then you might know her sister, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Catharine was totally adorbable and gave a terrific class on using scriptwriting techniques for book plotting. Which I actually had started doing before, but she gave more in-depth advice, like writing out the subtext (what your characters are really saying) for difficult scenes, to make sure what your actual text is doing what it's supposed to.

I also went to two presentations with Kristin Clark Venuti, author of Leaving the Bellweathers. Which is a really adorable book, sort of like modern day Roald Dahl. She and her editor from Egmont USA, and her agent, all did a panel on the process of getting an agent and publishing. Then Kristin did a bit on author promotions, most of which I pretty much knew, but she was so funny it was worth listening.

At the end of it all, I left with new friends (yay!), editors' cards in my pocket, and a head full of ideas and inspiration. Probably one of the biggest advantages to this conference was that you got a bunch of stickers that said you attended the conference, suitable for slapping onto your submission envelopes. Those babies get you moved to the top of the slush pile. But as most places take email subs now, putting that you were at the conference in your subject line was the alternate way to go.

I've submitted my latest book, the historical fantasy/fairy-tale adaptation, to two editors that otherwise would have been closed to me. One instantly (after reading the query letter) requested the full manuscript. From her iPhone. While she was at ALA this week. LOL. I also got up the courage to submit to an agent, not from the conference, but she also requested the full. (This is the book that I workshopped at the NJSCBWI Mentoring Workshop, where an NYC editor went over the first 30 pages and critiqued it. ) For the first time ever, I have full manuscripts with agents and editors. I've been writing for nine years.

I feel like I've stepped into a brave new world. And I wonder why I never did this before. Well, before I couldn't afford it and there is no way my old car would have made it. If you have a genre writing organization, and they have conferences like this, GO. Don't wait. They are so worth the money.

And I am SO going back to the conference next year!

28 June 2010

Slow Sweet Days of Summer

I’ve always loved summer.

What’s not to like?
Sizzling hot days,
Drippy ice cream cones,
Water-gun fights,
Watermelon seeds spitting competitions,
Running in ice-cold sprinkler-spray,
Chowing down at bar-b-ques,
Wrapping up in sleeping bags in our tent in the backyard.

My baby boy was born in the summer. All cute and cuddly with his chubby legs, toothless smile, and sweet, delicious baby smell. I was a mom full of awe and wonder. Here was this precious bundle of joy, so perfect, so amazingly wonderful. His smile warmed my heart and his hugs and kisses melted my soul.

As he learned his first words, started to crawl, took those awkward, dangerous baby steps, I held his hand and adored him. Each summertime we played and laughed and grew. Summers passed like sweet wine.

At the end of this summer, my baby will be going into ninth grade. High school! Up ahead are fast cars, tough classes, and loose women (okay, girls, I meant to say girls). Sigh. Where have all the summers gone?

Well, I’m going to slow this one down. Breathe in every minute, luxuriate in every second, drink in every last drip. I'll keep telling myself that high school is just another baby step into my son's manhood. And I'm still here ready to hold his hand with total adoration.

What is your favorite summer memory?

Kimberley Troutte

26 June 2010


At the risk of sounding older than I pretend to be, I wonder sometimes if people have forgotten the meaning of the word “respect.” Or maybe just how to use common courtesy. A simple drive to the store has my heart kicked into overdrive because some moron suddenly wanted my lane and didn’t think my being in his way had any bearing on the situation. Then there’s the woman who almost runs me over because she turned into the parking lot one handed—the other was holding a cell phone. Again, my being in her way is irrelevant.

Inside the store itself is no better. Customers gab with their friends, while blocking the aisles with overflowing carts and uncontrolled children. Then there are the people who barrel down the aisles with their carts, once again forgetting that physics thing about two objects not being able to occupy one space. No better are the employees who don’t seem to want to do their jobs. Check on a price? Are you kidding? Manually input a credit card because the little swiping machine sucks? Ha-ha? Tell me where something is? You expect me to know? Get off that personal call to ring me up? Dream on.

New words enter the language all the time, but there are words that seem to have been forgotten. Words such as please, thank you, excuse me.

It’s a shame really, how our civilization has become so uncivilized. Let’s all aim for random acts of politeness. Even better, make being a polite a habit. Life would be so much nicer, for everybody.

Cheryel Hutton

25 June 2010

To Ink or Not To Ink?

I'd thought I would talk about tattoos today. Now that the warm weather is here and more skin is exposed, you see more of them. I, myself, have three…well…I say three though one is an add-on to the original which has been there at least eight years.

I have a ladybug on a branch with a butterfly skittering away on my inner forearm, a crescent moon with three small stars inside it about an inch above my ankle, and last summer I added to the moon with seventeen stars running below the moon, over my anklebone, and down the side of my foot.

Out of my three tatts, I would have to say the most painful one was definitely on the foot. When that needle raked over my anklebone I thought I would die! The least painful one was the one on my forearm. It actually didn't bother me at all. The tatt guy asked if I was in the military because I wasn't even flinching. Since we'd been joking about stuff the entire time, I told him that was the reason. It really does help when you have someone with an awesome personality doing your tatt to keep your mind occupied.

So many people I have talked to with tattoos have said the same thing—it's addicting. If you have one (or more) do you agree?

One thing I don't quite understand are people who have tatts in places where only they can see. After sitting through pain I wanted to show it off. But, that's just me, lol. I suppose sometimes the reason could do with career, etc. I happen to be lucky enough to be able to show mine off with pride.

I love tatts and am thinking about getting one on the back of my neck, but close to my shoulder blades. I want something small, but haven't made up my mind yet. Got any ideas? I was thinking about angel wings…just undecided.

Do you have tatts? Where? Where was the least painful? Where was the most painful? Got any pics to share? I'm not sure if pics can be put in comments, but I'd still love to see them. You can post on my Facebook wall – Diane McEntire Vance. I have a pic of my foot tattoo there.

Well, that's my blog for today. If you are in the Charlestown, Indiana area on Saturday, I will have the first three novels of my vampire romance series, The Watchers. Want to find out more about the series? Check out my website – http://www.dmcentire.com/.

18 June 2010

Dynamic Drake, a short story by SJ Willing

Dynamite Drake Goes Down at Devil’s Reef

It popped out unexpectedly when Dymanite Drake opened his packet of cereal. At first he was grateful he was alone today. He didn’t think any of his bevy of lady visitors would appreciate the sight of a fat flaccid dildo first thing in the morning.

Then he realized it wasn’t a fat flaccid dildo. Rather it was a fat flaccid bratwurst.

Even more oddly it was a fake fat flaccid bratwurst. And with so many F’s in the description it could only mean one thing—Ferocious Furball was attempting to get in touch with him.

This minor fact would explain why the cute chick at the local grocery store insisted on exchanging his packet of Crunchie Crunch cereal even though there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. And it goes a lot further to explain why she changed it for a packet of Soggy Goo Goo.

Soggy Goo Goo was one of Drake’s least favorite foods which would explain why he’d had the packet now for five weeks before even opening it. (He’d basically run out of staple food supplies in the house and was resorting to last resorts.)

Of course the events leading up to his getting Furball’s urgent message five weeks late would explain it’s rather exceedingly flaccid state. Which, though normally flaccid to a certain degree it shouldn’t have been more flaccid than a flaccid wiener, if you know what that means.

Okay, so he received the top priority highly secret message from Furball five weeks late. But knowing Furball’s tendency to worry and do things way too early it probably meant he would still have plenty of time to respond. He could read the message now but it would be much clearer if he could find his specially stale weiner bun which PIACT set aside for just such an occasion as this. (This took a little while since it had fallen off the shelf four years ago and was stuck behind a rather antiquated and very heavy refrigerator which took several hours to move.)

When he had made all the appropriate preparations Drake was finally ready to listen to Furball’s message sometime well into the late afternoon. Hey, he was already late by five weeks, surely it wouldn’t hurt to have waited another five hours?

Stuffing the bratwurst into the bun he quickly stuck them both into the microwave and switched it on. After a few moments the sophisticated micro-circuitry within the bratwurst flickered alive and activated the glass paneling in the front of the microwave which burst into life just like a computer monitor.

There, in true MCY color was an old bedsheet backlit with an antiquated anglepoise lamp with something that might have been Furball’s silhouette on it. The PIACT CTR agents had taken a few financial hits since the recent sell out—probably another reason why the message bratwurst was so flaccid. He’d be willing to bet it was QQ’s old stock going cheap.

Fortunately Drake’s second job as a marital aids salesman kept him pretty much in the money and he didn’t need that huge a salary from the Angels. Not to mention the other, uh, benefits of being a door to door seller of sex toys...

“So you finally opened the package to respond to me did you?”

Oh, oh, sounds like the prerecorded message had real-time technology attached to it damn. Well, hopefully it didn’t contact base to let them know when he’d opened it.

The Furball image made an exaggerated gesture of looking at his watch.

“So, what is it? Five weeks, three days and nine hours too late to be precise. And you were supposed to have been in Jamaica no later than three hours ago.”

Ooops. Maybe spending time find the special bun did make a difference.

“Well, not much we can do to make up for your stupidity. We did, after all, make sure we chose your favorite cereal to place the message in.”

Ah, yes. Drake kept quiet about that one. He’d figured PIACT Central had become a little too nosey asking questions like that. So he’d put his favorite cereal last and his least favorite…

Hmmm. That would also help explain the five week delay. Okay so maybe that hadn’t been his most intelligent decision but Drake hated it when questions got too personal.

“Still, the damage, immense as it is, has been done. By now SPLAT have probably finished building the first stage of their ‘This is going to destroy the world’ weapon. You’ll just have to go over and pick up Formidable Fox and Lightning Lynx—if they’re still there. Maybe you’ll get lucky…

“…let me rephrase that. Maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to find a way of destroying the SPLAT base before they can instigate stage two of the destruction of the world.”

“Well, where are they?” Drake asked impatiently, after all he’d been waiting five weeks for this.

“And if you’re wondering where they are you’ll probably still find them on the Jamaican beaches near to Ocho Rios. The base is submerged over there next to the Devil’s Reef.”

“Oh, good. Sun, sand and margarit…”

“And don’t dare treat this like a vacation. If I see so much as one swim suit or margarita anywhere near you in the reports, your marital aids business will be the only thing left sticking up.”

“Touchy, touchy.”

“P.S. if they’re not out of date yet. Your airline tickets and hotel bookings are tucked somewhere beneath the innards of your Soggy Goo Goo. And this bratwurst will self-destruct when you eat it.”

Oh great. Drake sighed. The last secret message bratwurst he’s eaten had left tiny wires stuck between his teeth for weeks and gave him the worst indigestion in like, wow-ever.

Just then the microwave sparked, and burst into flames. Some quick action with a handy fire extinguisher and a wet blanket and the situation was under control. Fortunately the damage to his kitchen wasn’t impressive, and the bratwurst was a cindered lump of charcoal.

He wasn’t too sad about throwing the piece of charcoal down the kitchen waste disposal. A feeling, going by the sound of it, which wasn’t mirrored by the waste disposal unit which burped, hiccup and made a long keening dying sound.

Rummaging around in the contents of the Soggy Goo Goo box he located a small plastic bag holding several useful bits of paper. Fortunately the airline ticket wasn’t specifically dated the provisional booking still gave him another four weeks in which he could use it. All he had to do was call the airline and book a date, provided he didn’t mind traveling by luggage class—obviously another cost cutting exercise by the financially stricken CTR Angel’s offices. Whatever luggage class was he didn’t think he was going to like it too much.

Then there was the deal about what to take. Now it was always useful to take some of his marital aids as part of his cover. Not to mention he was generally welcomed almost everywhere when he took a buzzy or two—at least by the female population and since they took up about half of the world that was pretty fair odds.

He’d have to see if Lynx and Fox would like to test out his new design, the Errant William—a two tone, multispeed vibrator with just a touch of royalty. Rumor had it the shape had been cast from a particular personnage who wouldn’t be named. That’s if they had time between interviewing the locals for SPLAT activity.

Okay, that settled, he dropped the tickets into his wallet, called his shipping office and had them ship out a couple of cases of samples to Ocho Rios and then called the airline confirming his date and time of departure. He was rather surprised to find there was a seat vacant for the flight in two hours time. If he would just get there they’d make a space just for him. Cool! Luggage class must be rather classy after all if he was getting this kind of immediate attention.

Throwing a few essentials into a small carry-on bag, things like spare batteries, booze, bendy condoms, bathroom kits, bathing suits and anything else he could think of that began with a “B” he threw the bag into his souped up Volkswagen Beetle–the classy new design–and headed for *Amsterdam Airport*.

It was a sedate little ride with only about fifteen near misses with various mentally unstable drivers attempting to cross the four lanes of traffic in two seconds, but Drake eventually found himself outside the departure terminals. Handing over the keys to his precious automobile to the capable fingers of a skinny ginger haired, freckled-face kid who looked like he was almost sixteen years old.

“I’ll tak reet gud care of ‘er.” He spoke in a very good imitation of British cockney. “Don’t ‘ee worry guv.”

As the Beetle vanished in a squeal of tires and smoke Drake turned to the young lady standing behind the Cheep Flites Airline ticket counter.

“Hi.” He smiled his winning I want to go to bed with you smile. “We, I mean, I have a reservation. The names Drake, Dynamic Drake.”

“Of course Mr. Drake.” The girl blushed and simpered as two young airline baggage handlers stopped behind him and opened up a fairly large sized crate. The young girl tapped a few buttons on her computer terminal. “If you would just step in here.”

“Ooof!” Drake doubled over as a punching glove shot out from the counter and struck him in the stomach. “Unh!” he added as a wooden mallet whacked him on the head and he fell backwards into the huge crate waiting for him.

“Thank you for traveling Cheep Flite’s Luggage class.” The young lady stamped his forehead with a rubber stamp. “We hope you enjoy your flight.”

“So much for Furball’s cost cutting.” Drake thought miserably just before he lost consciousness and the lid of the crate locked shut above him.


It had been a wonderful flight. He was sure of it, though he couldn’t remember one moment of it. He did remember waking up in the arrival lounge of a very small airport with a bunch of hairy, smelly tourists and their squalling kids. One of whom was attempting to beat him to death with a plastic baseball bat.

“Leave the drunk alone, Matt,” His mother scolded. “Goodness knows what diseases he carries. We’ll have to sterilize your bat now.”

Groggily Drake grimaced and shook his head to good effect. The kid went screaming back to his mother who’d turned rather pale when she saw Drake move.

Not that he moved too far. His head felt like a mule had kicked him. Nah, it was just jet lag. He felt the lump on his head carefully—jet lag with a kick like a mule.

Collecting his carry-on, someone had rifled through it and dumped it on the floor beside him. A quick check reassured him that nothing was missing except the bendy condom and good luck to them if they tried to use that. He made his way to the airport exit. Fortunately he still had his wallet, and what little he had in Jamaican currency. It should be enough to get him to the Hotel Whadawhopper. A huge modern edifice named after Helios Bigdicker, Jamaican’s famous porn movie star.

He didn’t quite get as far as the taxi rank before he went on full alert. Two well endowed bikini clad women arrowed toward him from different parts of the arrival lounge. So perfect in looks and sex appeal they had to be part of SPLAT’s infamous droid clones.

As unprepared as he was, he needed to escape before they could climax him to death.

Slipping into a nearby phone booth he rummaged in his carry-on for the bouncy beard and brushed moustache. Sticking them on his face he quickly reversed direction, secure in the knowledge that no one would be able to see through his disguise.

He’d made it as far as the second taxi cab before he felt two bodies appear at his side, each one slipping an arm around his as they directed him to a less populated part of the airport.

Drake swallowed. What would it be like to be doomed to an endless bout of orgasms? Would he get a chance to take a rest between sessions? Who did these lovely androids work for? Would Furball ever forgive him? Why did his cock have to be rock hard just anticipating all of it?

“Look natural and just do as we say,” The delectable lady on his right whispered. “We think they may be watching.”

Drake watched the top of her perfect globes as they bobbled and bounced ready to fall out of her bikini top.

“Erk!” he agreed.

“Yes,” the delicious lady on his left confirmed. “Danger is everywhere.”

With about three square inches of her lickable flesh covered by bikini Drake could only nod, mesmerized, as they began to walk him away to the parking lot in a nearby goat field.

“Uhn. Uhn. Uhn.” Drake answered, eyes going up and down with each bounce of the girl’s upper endownments. He was totally and completely doomed if he couldn’t get away from these two lethal temptresses.

“UhnUhnUhnUhnuhnuhnuhnuhn.” He repeated as the first droid hopped over a small ditch, bouncing as she landed.

The sight was such a shock to his system that he failed to see where he was walking and tripped, landing face first in what smelled like a latrine ditch.

“Marvine! Oh, Marvine! There you are! Now, I warned you about going wandering off before I got here. Aren’t you lucky I found you before you’d gone too far?”

“What? Ah, yes, yes very lucky.”

Saved! Drake couldn’t tell if it was Lynx or Fox who’d come to his rescue but the raven haired beauty who was lifting him to his feet was worth every second he spent looking at her.

The two droids looked somewhat alarmed and upset to see him taken out of their clutches. Well, yah boo shucks. Tough luck. He, Dynamic Drake, aka Marvine, was outta here.

“Thank you!” Drake almost hugged his savior as she led him to a red Porsche she had tucked up around the back of the airport. “I think you saved my life.”

“You’re welcome.” She stared at him, smiling sexily. “So far they’ve taken every available man in this dump. I had to save at least one for myself. And when I saw you put on that silly disguise to try and avoid them I knew I had to come and get you.”

“Uhm, silly disguise?”

“That black moustache and white beard really don’t match your brown hair.”

“Oh,” Drake scratched his fake beard thoughtfully. “I hadn’t considered that.” Maybe he should have gone for the brown beard and moustache, but where was the fun in that?

“Here, let me take them off.” The woman reached out and gently pulled the offending articles away, somehow her touch promised a thousand sensual delights with such a simple and innocent movement.

“Ah, thank you.” Drake shifted uncomfortably trying to get something into a comfortable position. “And thank you, again, for rescuing me. My name’s Drake. Dynamic Drake.”

“Nice to meet you Drake. I’m Kitty Klaws.” She licked her lips and looked at his crotch in a way that let him know she knew exactly why he was wriggling like he was and that she knew exactly what she wanted. She looked rather pleased as she stared at the lump in his pants. “So what are you doing in Ocho Rios?”

Drake adjusted his position again, making her smile even wider. “I’m, er, drumming up business I hope.”

“Oh, what do you do?”

Drake hesitated for a moment, not too sure if he should reveal his trade under the circumstances. It had been known to have sudden effects on certain women. “I sell…marital aids.” He finally admitted.

Kitty’s eyes practically glowed. “Sex toys! Ooooh. You and I will have to have a long talk. Damn!”

That last expletive was fortunately directed to her cell phone which had begun to ring.

“Kitty here, what do you want?” She snapped.

There was a rather long monologue from the other end of the line which Drake almost could hear but not enough to understand what was being said.

“Okay, okay.” He could hear the disappointed groan in her voice. “I’ll get my scuba gear and I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

She shut down her cell phone and turned to him apologetically. “I’m afraid I have to go to work. Which hotel are you staying at? I’m very interested in your toys. Maybe we can meet up later for a little more…business?”

Drake felt everything swell bigger as she trailed a crimson nailed finger up his now beardless chin. Where she was patting him in consolation really didn’t help matters at all.

“Oh, definitely yes.” He nodded, noticing the hard bullet-shaped nubs of her nipples showing through her top. “I’m staying at the Hotel Whadawhopper, room 69a.”

“How appropriate!” She smiled, then licked her lips in a way that made his cock tingle. “I’m in room 69b. Connecting doors, hmm, we’ll have to connect later for a meeting of…minds.”

Drake nodded, unwilling to speak while it was hard… uh, he meant hard to think clearly.

“Well, here we are.” She stopped the car before a fairly modern but a little rundown six storey hotel. “I’ll send you a message just as soon as I finish with this little bit of work.”

“Thanks!” Drake stumbled out of the car, clutching his carry-on in a way that would conceal his rather delicate condition. “I’ll be waiting.”

“Good!” She blew him the perfect kiss from a pair of cherry red lipstick covered lips that looked just, well, perfect. And with that she zoomed off leaving him with an erection capable of holding up the Eiffel tower and an imagination fired up with more images of coitus excessus than he’d even been able to conjure up in his teenage years.

When he entered the hotel lobby and cleared his room booking with the reception clerk, the first thing he noticed was two hot heavy breaths on the back of his neck.

Without even looking he turned casually toward the hotel elevator and began to walk quickly in that direction. Just before he reached it he turned a sharp right and ducked into the gentleman’s restroom and ran straight into one of the empty cubicles.

He dumped his carry-on on the unused commode. There, that should throw the droids off his tail.

“At last, we have you in private.”

Drake swallowed nervously as the female thing spoke, and the door lock clicked shut behind him.

He turned to face his two fiery opponents as they glared at him angrily.

“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing driving off with the leader of SPLAT when we’re trying to get you to safety?”

“You could have been killed, raped, or just plain raped and killed and we’d have known nothing about it.”

“Hang on a sec.” Drake took his favorite blue water pistol out of his carry on as heavy ponderous steps entered the rest room. He squirted it over the two girls. One of them squealed in little yelps of protest while the other grunted heavily in surprise. The entering footsteps fled the restroom. “Hey, you didn’t explode.”

“Of course not stupid.”

“You mean you’re not one of those awful, mean, horrible, deadly female SPLAT droids?”

“I think Furball sent us an idiot,” Delectable confided to Delicious.

“More like an imbecile,” Delicious answered. “Shall we just dunk his head in the toilet and leave him?”

“Hang on, hang on. If you’re the CTR Angels…Are you the CTR Angels…?”

“Ferocious Fox,” Delectable said.

“Lightning Lynx,” Delicious added.

“Okay, if you’re the CTR Angels, who rescued me from you?”

“You don’t happen to mean Kitty Klaws, do you?” Lynx gave him the “Idiot” stare. “One of the top ten ranking SPLAT agents and key to the Devil’s Reef Death Machine.”

“You mean—“

“Kitty Klaws is the bad guy, well gal. Yeah.”

Several dozen feet tip-toed back into the rest room.

“I’m screwed,” Drake moaned. “Well, I’m gonna be screwed. She’s coming back for business tonight. She said she wanted to buy some sex toys, but I think she wants a little more than that—“

“Whohoo! He’s cracked it.” Lynx did a little dance which bounced certain things around a lot and didn’t do much for making something else go soft.

“Maybe he’s not such an idiot after all.”


“He’s managed to make contact and infiltrate the dome within a day of arriving.”


“Not to mention he’s half way to disabling the female droid staff.”


“And also in a position to get into the dome and open the doors for us.”


“And in the perfect position to have sex with the boss lady and render her helpless until the BLAST squad can come for her.”


“Huh?” Both agents turned to look at Drake as if they just realized he was there.

“You want me to do what? Sleep with the Devil?”

“Oh, no, nothing as serious as that.” Lynx grinned. “You just have to go down at Devil’s reef.”

Drake knew he didn’t understand when both of the girl’s began to laugh.

“He doesn’t know about going down.” Lynx gave him her cute look.

“Come on.” Fox unlocked the cubicle door and dragged him out, shocking half-a-dozen men standing by the urinals with their wangers out, all listening intently to their conversation. “Let’s go show you what we mean.”

Drake followed Fox and Lynx out of the restroom. If looks could kill their jealous stares would have eviscerated him.


Drake felt distinctly uncomfortable as he watched the young lady writhing in ecstasy on the bed. Not uncomfortable that he was watching it, but that he was watching it in the company of two very attractive women who weren’t in the least bit interested in him.

Trying to hide the effect the video had on him was proving to be extremely uncomfortable.

“Oh God, oh God, oh GOD!” The lady in question, well droid actually, removed the vibrator just at the critical moment. In spite of that she still appeared to enjoy the effects of a super-duper robot orgasm.

“She didn’t explode?” Drake who’d read a little of PIACT’s earlier reports on SPLAT remembered that detail very well.

“Kitty Klaws has been developing a female droid capable of limited orgasm.” Lynx explained. “It seems she wasn’t pleased with the effect Lethal Lion had when he went on his penetration mission. These droids are capable of taking pleasure right up to the point of orgasm. Provided they can remove the source of pleasure milliseconds before climax they fail to explode.”

“And since most of the droid guards in the undersea dome are female, and somehow protected against water, we need some way of deactivating them. We can work on the male guards because there are so few—we’ve tested all the local population.” Fox licked her lips. “And none of the males around here are droids. So we can handle the five or so down in the dome.”

“So, er, how can I help?”

Lynx pulled a wicked looking three prong device out of a suitcase. “With the use of Neptune’s Trident!”

Drake shuddered as she flicked a switch. The two outer prongs of the device began to vibrate while the middle one contorted in diverse convulsions.

“A double dong penetrating clit vibrator.” Fox elucidated. “Guaranteed by QQ to provide enough pleasure to explode even these protected droids. Included in the design are powerful electromagnets to help fasten them to the droids metal bodies. Plus you have to encourage them to use this.” She produced a tube of Sticky Lube. “The world’s first genuine feminine lubricant-come-superglue. One dab of this super slick liquid will ensure those Neptune’s Tridents aren’t going anywhere but in.”

“So you want me to…sell these to her for her droids?”

“That’s part of it.” Fox agreed.

“What’s the other part?” Drake dreaded to ask.

“You, ah, have to keep her entertained while the droids are exploding so she can’t prevent it happening.”

“Me?” Drake squeaked.

“It’ll be easy.” Fox patted his knee. “Just remember she like’s to have the O to get the big O.”


“That’s right, no f/f or m/m, though she’s partial to a little m/f/m.”


“Definitely O, yes, though a little C&A works too but avoid the BDSM she can get somewhat vicious with that.”


“You got it boy.” Lynx and Fox slapped him on the back and marched him to the door. “So go out there, do your job and make sure she gets her O’s.”

The door slammed behind him and Drake found himself alone in the corridor on the second floor of the Hotel Whadawhopper staring at the door which had just slammed shut behind him.



It was just past midnight several days later when the dreaded knock come on Drake’s hotel room door. He wasn’t too surprised to be greeted by two rather large men, droids of course. They said nothing, simply passed him a scuba diving set while maintaining their stony expressions.

“Hi.” He tried some pleasant conversation but they ignored him and lifted him by the elbows. It was a matter of moments for them to carry him down the hotel stairs to a small truck just outside the hotel parking lot.

Drake tried to console himself with the fact that somewhere in the shadows behind him there should be a Fox and Lynx watching everything from afar.

Though afar seemed way too far away to be safe to him.

As he was gently thrown into the back of the truck, one guard sitting on him to make sure he didn’t try to escape while the other drove to the beach, he wondered if this was a good thing or a bad thing. After all it had been three days ago now that he’d sent the job lot of Neptune’s Tridents to Kitty in the secret undersea base.

It had cost him triple to get USPS to go down eighty feet under the ocean since they generally didn’t deliver to an underwater zip code but they’d eventually agreed. With an extra ten percent charge to make sure the address remained on their secret underwater base list.

The delivery had also included a bottle of Sticky Lube for each vibrator. So Drake couldn’t believe a whole dome of women—well, droid women—hadn’t even attempted to sample one of the devices yet. Surely at least one of them must have tried the lethal dildo. Which meant this was probably his call to death by uncertain means at the tender hands of a well bosomed lady called Kitty Klaws. And he still hadn’t worked out what the Oh? factor was.

Fox and Lynx had been particularly busy over the last few days retesting all the local men to ensure they weren’t part of the SPLAT droid population. And going by the squeals and screams that came from their rooms almost constantly through the days and nights, it hadn’t been an easy or forgiving task. Given the amount of sacrifice they’d made, Drake found it hard to complain about the minimal effort he’d been asked to make. Even if it did mean going down to the Devil’s Reef itself.

Down at the beach they forced him to strip, well it was a nudist beach after all, and made him put the scuba gear on. They then proceeded to pull on giant condoms with arms over their heads which they tied at the bottoms.

Suitably attired and protected from the water, they frogmarched, literally, Drake to the sea. Alas, even with the scuba diving gear he wasn’t able to get more than a hands width away from any of them.

Devil’s reef was a half mile east of Ocho Rios and they followed the gently sloping shore and sea bed until they reached the scattered reefs Drake worked hard to avoid the staghorn coral and watched the snappers swim hastily away as he approached. It was hard to do when the only light came from a couple of flashlight that tweedle dee and tweedle dum carried with them. Every now and then the light flashed over the edge of the drop off, somewhere over there, a hundred and thirty feet down, was a sea bed Drake had no intention of investigating.

The droids took him along the edge of this drop off until…

“Well, f**k me!” Drake said.

Okay, okay so he thought it since he was eighty feet under water and it’s not too easy when you have an oxygen mouthpiece stuck in your gob. But as long as you get the impression of how surprised he was that’s good enough.

“Well, f**k me!” Drake thought with great surprise as a huge, whacking dome appeared before them. The crystalline cage lit up like a Christmas tree on Ecstasy.

As they swam nearer he could see the small figures of scantily clad women, some of them even more scantily clad than Fox. The female droids were working on some huge device in the middle of the dome which looked somewhat like a gigantic mallet with six million megawatt loudspeakers attached. Lying around the machine on the sandy floor were a hundred spongy bedrolls, the kind used in gym and exercise rooms.

There was also a very familiar figure waiting for him at what looked like an airlock of sorts, if a somewhat phallic looking airlock.

With nudges, pushes and a general grab and drag method of communication Dee and Dum forced him into the airlock’s foreskin which closed over him and began to suck the water out of the chamber beneath it.

Somehow he could imagine Kitty loving the design.

Kitty certainly seemed pleased to see him. Well, a particular part of him which couldn’t help reacting to the fact that she and all of the other female droids were now completely naked and making themselves comfortable on the gym mats.

“Come on! You’re just in time.”

She grabbed him by the aforementioned proud member and dragged him to a double sized mat close to the machine. All around them the female droids were picking up their Neptune’s Tridents and bottles of Sticky Lube.

“So, ah, looks like you gals are ready for a party.”

“Drake.” She looked him proudly in the eye. “You are about to witness the greatest moment ever for mankind.”

“I am?”

“Yes.” She pushed him backward until his lay on the mat. “And you have the honor of becoming Number Eleven.”

“Oh thanks!” Drake watched the Netpune’s Trident and Sticky Lube suspiciously. “Number Eleven what?”

“You are going to be the eleventh survivor of the entire human race!”

“You mean this machine will destroy everyone but eleven of us, and that is going to be the most manificent moment in the history of mankind?” She straddled his legs, grabbed his erection like it was a joystick and poured the entire bottle of Sticky Lube over it. “I,uh, think…”

“You think it will be a fantastic moment, yes!” Kitty sank down on his cock, penetrating herself like this moment was the soul reason for her existence.

“This orgasmatetonictron, when activated by the screams of a hundred climaxing women will send a sonic blast to the Earth’s core which will render all but a few square kilometers inhabitable to life.”

“Oh, ah, ooh, oh!”

“Later sweety,” she smiled devilishly. “I’ll have some O later.” She began a rocking motion designed to make him blast off to the moon in no less than twenty seconds flat—a condition aided and abetted by the sounds of over a hundred female droids frantically working their way up to a fevered climax.

“But only eleven, could the human race survive?”

“We’ll have children.” Kitty bucked wildly hammering her boobs into Drake’s dazed face, stunning him further. “We’ll have hundreds of children!” Amidst her screams of lust and mad dreams Drake could vaguely hear the sounds of droids exploding around him. Well, at least something worked.

“Million’s,” Drake suggested.

“Billions!” Kitty agreed. “Oh God, here I come! Don’t pull out!”

“I, er, don’t think I can…”

Around him there was a wail of orgasmic cries mingled with explosions. The orgasmatetonictron vibrated alarmingly and for a few moments threatened to slam it’s doomsday mallet into the ocean floor. Then the moment passed and Drake knew that he’d saved the day.

“You are amazing, absolutely amazing,” Kitty panted her way to a fifth orgasm. “I could live with you forever.”

“I’m kind of stuck on you too.” Drake admitted, wondering how long it would take Number Ten to collapse from exhaustion.


“Well, looks like you’ve been busy.”

Drake woke up to find Fox and Lynx studying him. Kitty was still straddling him and still, unfortunately, superglued to his unable to deflate manhood. Thankfully after her tenth or eleventh orgasm the evil dobadder had fallen asleep exhausted.

Around him, looking his way as frequently as they could without appearing rude were thirty or forty members of the BLAST team.

Dang, this whole thing couldn’t possibly become more public unless…

Drake closed his eyes and pretended not to exist. The Angels new owner, always one to rake in free publicity for a job well done, had brought in a half dozen YouTube publicity men. Now his half submerged never say die whanger was going to be a star on YouTube.

Move over Warrior Wolf, your day is done.

“So, er, are you going to come to Furball’s debriefing?” Fox asked pointedly as one of the camera boys zoomed in for a close up.

“Only if you wouldn’t mind getting me out of this.” Drake picked up the empty Sticky Lube bottle and tossed it at her.

“Oh?” Lynx blushed. Drake nodded, he must have used the Oh accidentally then. “Hadn’t thought that would happen.”

“So you’ve got some solvent, quick unsticker, stuff to wash it off with?” He asked hopefully.

“Uhm, well…”

“You see, it’s like this…”

“No.” They both admitted together. “But, Captain Blaine of the BLAST team here. He can take you both to QQ, I’m sure he can do something.”

“Hey, no! Wait a minute!”

Several of the hunky BLAST men picked them up. The movement was enough to wake a very sleepy Kitty. She peered at Fox and Lynx for a moment then grinned.

“Mine,” she said. “He’s simply amazing. Eleven times and he’s still ready for more…”

Drake held his breath until she fell back asleep.

“If you’re going to move us, for God’s sake give her something to knock her out. Please!”

“Maybe Captain Blaine could suggest something.” Lynx licked her lips as she looked at the six foot seven mountain of military muscle.

“Sorry Drake. Bad publicity. The Boss wants this to look good for public relations.”

“Noooooo!” Drake begged as they loaded him into the mini-submersible medical transport, two of the YouTube reporters nipping in quick so they could follow up on Drake’s treatment and recovery. “Pleeeease!”

Lynx and Fox watched as the last of the droids was cleared away and the orgasmatetonictron dismantled and taken to PIACT for analysis.

“Well, should we tell him about the hidden cameras?” Fox asked the question that was on both their minds.

Lynx chewed her lip for a moment thinking hard.

“Nah. Let Furball break the news.” Fox dropped her cell phone number in Blaine’s pocket. “After all, how often do you get to be the star in your own live broadcast porn movie on YouTube?”


SJ Willing

17 June 2010

New Contract!

I rarely get the opportunity to make posts like this, where I get to announce that I've signed a contract for a new book. Partly because I write so slow and partly because it's a tough market out there. Especially when you write so slow :). But last week I did sign a contract for a new book with Samhain that has been a long time in the making.

My second novel with Samhain was Survival of the Fairest, a fairies-in-Vegas romp featuring an AWOL fairy princess, a human stage magician who didn't believe in magic, a vengeful waitress, and flesh eating gnomes. The sequel to Survival of the Fairest will be titled One Thousand Kisses. Here's the current blurb, which is sure to be improved after it runs through the Samhain Magical Blurb Machine:

Embor Fiertag, Primary of the fairy Realm, has three goals. Get reelected, capture the rogue agents who tried to murder him, and improve his love life. His foretold bondmate is Anisette Serendipity, a Court trainee, but he hasn't precisely shared the prophesy with her. How do you inform someone she belongs with you when she's not only dating your chief political rival but doesn't seem to like you at all?

In fact, Anisette has always been intimidated by the stern, serious Primary. He has good reason to disapprove of her--her sister almost got him killed--yet he always seems to be monitoring her progress. Not that she's making progress. Long-standing Realm customs have destroyed her upward mobility and trapped her in a deceptive relationship. If she drops out of Court, would that make her an official failure or just a failure her own mind?

When an unsavory political strategy gone all too right turns most of Court against Embor, the two of them, plus a pesky magical feline, are forced to flee to humanspace. There they'll have to find the courage to share their vulnerabilities and their hearts if they're to have any hope of saving the entire fairy Realm.

I'm so glad this novel will eventually be seeing the light of day! And I'm so glad I finally got to make another "sale" announcement.

Jody W.

15 June 2010

New Today: Bianca D'Arc's Warrior's Heart

He’s home to claim the girl he never forgot…but more than war memories have changed him.

Gifts of the Ancients, Book 1

Hal’s best-friend status with Casey’s brother always meant that the one woman he wants is strictly off limits. But now that he’s back from a harrowing mission in the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon, all bets are off. The strangely mystical experience left him and his Special Forces team with a new appreciation for life—and strange new abilities they are only beginning to understand.

Casey never thought she’d have a shot with the strong, silent Green Beret. Something about him has changed, though, and old feelings have risen up, demanding an answer. And her answer is an unequivocal yes. Now, to break the news to her brother and hope it doesn’t come to blows.

Her brother’s reaction becomes the least of her worries when Hal singlehandedly stops a car from running her down, then falls into her arms, weak from some kind of strange reaction. Whatever went down in Iraq has changed Hal and made him a target of foreign agents who’ve found his one vulnerability…Casey.

Warning: This title contains dirty talk, sweaty carpentry sex and a sexy Special Forces super hero.

Read An Excerpt

12 June 2010

We interrupt this blog for a special announcement...

I was preparing my blog post for today when an urgent message landed in my email box concerning author and Samhain editor Jennifer Haymore. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her sister authors at the Danger: Women Writing blog are working to raise money to donate to breast cancer research. Samhain will be joining this cause as well, with events to be announced.

In the meantime, if you'd like to help, go to the Dangerous web site to find out how.


07 June 2010


May 27th thru May 31st saw the 34th anniversary of WisCon, the World’s Leading Feminist Science Fiction Convention in Madison, Wisconsin. I had a blast! There are so many things to touch on that I’m forced to limit myself to a single panel at a time for inspiration over the course of the next few blog posts. Rather than rehashing the panels I’d like to throw out elements from them and continue the discussion here. The first panel up for discussion is Defining Heroism.

I almost missed this panel finding it’s location at the last minute and I’m surely glad I did. At it’s heart were two questions. What makes a hero? Is heroism determined externally or internally? We went thru several context and examples, agreeing that heroism is definitely determined externally by the reader/audience and that not every protagonist is necessarily a hero simply by being the protagonist. In romance especially I think this is forgotten as the term “hero of the story” is used as interchangeable with protagonist and main character. That said, we still seem to always want the protag to be that hero for us, changing and growing and saving the day by the last page. So then again, what’s a hero?

I offered that a hero is someone who when faced with a choice chooses the better option. Again, chooses the better option, because sometimes there simply is no good choice. But there must always be a choice. There is a difference between a heroic circumstance and a hero.

Think about the plane that was landed on the Hudson. Everyone speaks to how captain Sully “heroically landed the plane”, but this inaccurate. He didn’t have a choice in safely landing the plane, if he failed he died along with everyone else, so landing the plane was highly impressive and skilled but not heroic. When he then made sure all of his passengers got out on the wing, that no one was left behind and he chose to be the last one out rather than the first THEN captain Sully became a hero rather than the center of a heroic circumstance.

Often the gestures are not so grand as saving several lives. Sometimes the hero simply goes above and beyond for a single person, affecting a single life in a way that will touch every other life around them. Whether saving the world or simply learning to accept the love offered, a hero decides to step up and to the thing that must be done regardless of their personal feelings and position on the matter. The selfless act, even when it’s the only one that can be observed, is the act of the hero.

For my fellow writers, are all of your protagonists heroes? How do you determine if they are the hero? Have you ever purposely written one that was not the hero? Would you want to?

For the readers, are the heroes in you favorite stories clearly defined? Are there any books, shows or movies where you would argue if the protagonist is actually the hero? What is the one thing you need to see in your hero to make them a hero?

For both: Do you differentiate between hero and heroine as far as the criteria? Does the heroine just need to show up? Is “quiet heroism” more the domain of heroines than heroes? And in urban fantasy which is heavy on female pov, does she need to save the world to be on par with the boys?

Is That A Cape Or Are You Just Happy To See Me Ramble…Done


06 June 2010

All This & Glitter Too

Author and mad make-up genius Stephanie Burke applies (what else) more glitter
to Gina Marie Monti's Legendary Triple Launch make-up.

Sorry I’m late, but I only just washed off the glitter. Navigating Balticon 44, held May 28-31 at the Marriott Hunt Valley outside Baltimore, Maryland, was a lot like walking through showers of pixie dust. You didn’t quite wind up where you expected, but the trip sure was fun.

Forget panels not my own, dancing, the Masquerade, the invitation only single malt party. I set out for all of them, but as befits the “Escher Marriott” where “You can’t get there from here” is a fact of life, I instead wandered into conversations and situations that sent me in different directions entirely.

Turn any corner in the "Escher Marriott" and you might find something wonderful, like an accomplished pianist working through the opening bars of the score to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

It started innocently enough with roomie Gail Z. Martin and Laura Anne Gilman in the bar eating lunch and drinking wine. Just one each, I swear. Gail and I were perfectly sober for her reading and my first panel of the con, “Are You Sure You Want to Go There?” where bloggers and podcasters Allison Duncan, Andrea Jennifer, Chris Lester, moderator Tee Morris and I talked about work arising from the darkest places in our nature. After that there was a party calling my name. But I was a good girl (I heard that snicker!), picking up my share of the cookies for the Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading and changing into my steampunk outfit.

The crowd at this year’s RFR, hosted by Roxanne Bland, was twice the size of last year’s. And they liked us, they really liked us. Gail read from “Steer a Pale Course”, the story from Valerie Griswold-Ford’s anthology Rum and Runestones. Gail claims it was her first short story, but it sure didn’t sound like it. Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s reading also boasted a nautical theme. Elaine Corvidae shifted the emphasis toward the fae. Filker Roberta Rogow and newcomer Heather Kantz added their efforts. I followed up with a reading from “Syren Bridge”, my novella in progress, and reveled in an audience that laughed in all the right places. Then Kelly A. Harmon took the reader’s and gave me the nicest compliment of the con: “It’s really hard having to read after you.”

Rose of Night Shade Industries models one of her lovely steampunk
frocks. Yes, all the cogs on her corset are fully operational. And
Rose herself packs a mean flask of rum.

After that, I planned to head for Dancing in the Gears, Balticon’s fabulous steampunk ball. But Gail, Roxanne and I wound up in the bar, in the same exact booth Gail and I had occupied before. Judicious amounts of alcohol ensued. Alas, not of the single malt variety.

Saturday morning (morning—arrrrgh!) I shared a panel on “The Many Faces of Fantasy” with Misty Massey, Darrell Schweitzer, moderator Elwin Cotman and one of my all time favorite fantasy authors, Writer Guest of Honor Tanya Huff. I don’t think I babbled too much, at least Tanya kindly agreed to be interviewed for a nonfiction project I’m working on.

Balticon Writer Guest of Honor Tanya Huff.

I had an entire list of panels lined up for the afternoon, but then I met fellow Red Rose authors Stephanie “Flash” Burke and Anthony Stevens. Flash was looking for a place to change for the Masquerade, so we wound up…

In the bar of course, where we met up with Rose of the amazing geared corset, her husband Dion, Stephanie’s husband Dennis and two gleeful refugees from Heroes and Villains, the Balticon Live Action Role Playing game. Stephanie and I stuck with tea of the non-alcoholic variety and five or six hours later we made it to our evening goals.

Heroes and Villains LARPers in the Marriott bar.

Stephanie went off to win Best-in-Show in the Masquerade’s Journeyman category for “Dem Boots”, which were largely created from a dismembered sofa. (No, I don’t make these things up—even if I didn’t get to record it on film. Check out Anthony’s photos, if you don’t believe me.) There was pixie dust involved in that, too. Stephanie and her costume were dusted in so much glitter, the shiny cloud settled on Masquerade MC and veteran vampire Marty Gear. He told her she was taking him to the cleaners. Literally. For the first time in...centuries, he needed to send his white tie and cape to a dry cleaner because, in his words, “There’s no such thing as a sparkly vampire.”

Jacalyn Stanley in her prizewinning Alexia Tarabotti/Soulless gown.

Oddly enough, it turned out I knew the other Journeyman winner, too. Jacalyn Stanley, who’s often graced Richmond’s RavenCon with her lovely costumes, won the Most Beautiful ribbon for her interpretation of Alexia Tarabotti from Soulless, the first novel of another Balticon attendee, Gail Carriger.

I meant to cover the Masquerade. I really did. The Baltimore Science Fiction Society has ties to some of the best costumers in Maryland, and even the non-competing walk-ons are fabulous. (If you don’t believe me, click here to see the awesomeness that was 2009’s Steampunk Star Wars.) But first I wanted to drop in at the Book Pushers Launch Party. There was wine, four great authors launching four wonderful books (Hard Magic by Laura Anne Gilman, Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, Well of Sorrows by Joshua Palmatier writing as Benjamin Tate and Machinery of Light by David Williams), another fabulous author (Patricia Bray) staffing the bar, and a new item for the folklore database I like to carry in my head.

(From left to right) David Williams, Laura Anne Gilman, Jeri Smith-Ready and Joshua Palmatier (w/a Benjamin Tate) display the Cake of Four Covers at Saturday night's Book Pushers Launch Party.

Laura Anne wouldn’t let anyone cut the cake until she carefully smeared the authors’ names on their frosted covers. “It’s bad luck to cut through a name,” she said. The lady knows her food lore. Now you know, too. (Don’t say I never share.)

I exited once to help someone who needed to get to the other side of the hotel, and found myself in the middle of an impromptu concert in the Ladies Room. Four members of the a cappella group Sassafrass were rehearsing for their Sunday evening performance…of songs about magic Vikings and Norse mythology.

Four of the five members of Sassafrass rehearsing in the lobby Ladies Room.

Naturally, I had to bring back proof to the party, then somebody started talking book smack and I was lost. The room was still rocking when they came to kick us out at midnight. At least my Sunday panels had the decency to wait until 6 p.m.

But the prep did not. Stephanie was kind enough to give me the benefit of her mad costume and make-up skills. The Legendary Triple Launch, celebrating three new anthologies edited by Danielle (Bad-Ass Faeries 3: In All Their Glory, Dragon’s Lure and New Blood) was scheduled to start directly after my 6 p.m. panel. Since I was scheduled to read “Lord Bai’s Discovery”, my contribution to Dragon’s Lure, I felt I ought to fit into the fantasy of the occasion. I couldn’t manage a dragon, but thanks to Stephanie, I did pull off a rather extreme fox fairy. (Alas, pixels at dusk couldn’t capture the true purplage of the outfit, which was gloriously lurid.)

My first time as a fox fairy was also my first time wearing false
eyelashes. They had rhinestones. "Flash" truly outdid herself.

I also managed to catch Sassafrass killing off Baldur in song. It was every bit as splendid as promised in the rehearsal. I would’ve liked to hang around to hear the filk program which followed, but I was afraid I’d miss the Books & Braun reading by Tee and his fellow Dragon Moon author Philippa Ballantine. Tee had been making broad hints over the last few weeks that something momentous was in the offing, and I promised him I wouldn’t miss the big reveal. Besides, Jana Oliver (another Dragon Moon author who couldn’t make it to the con) threatened dire things if I didn’t keep her in the loop.

True to this con’s interesting rehearsal karma, I discovered Tee and Pip rehearsing their reading in one of the hotel’s two “piano nooks”. Even coming into the middle of the rehearsal, I was transfixed.

Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris rehearsing their Books & Braun reading. No
piano playing involved--just the music of the words. It was more than enough.

There are times when the words in a story sing to you. It’s the truest kind of magic I know. Some inner sense tells you that this story or this novel will take off and fly. It’s never wrong, either. Most recently, I heard the music in the beta copy of Jana’s 2011 release, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter, I read a couple days before hitting the road for Balticon.

I heard it again in Books & Braun. Think a steampunk version of the 1960s Avengers with Patrick McNee and Dame Diana Rigg, with a little bit of The Librarian and a lot of New Zealand suffragettes (with ray-guns, naturally) thrown in. The fact that both Tee and Pip have wonderful voices and great chemistry didn’t hurt either. But the stop-start-shift nature of rehearsal negates much of the readers’ magic and throws it back on the words. Which were splendid.

It came as no surprise that Tee and Pip’s big news was a two-book contract. The book went to auction. Harper Collins SF/fantasy imprint EOS Books emerged the winner, and plans to release the book next summer, roughly one month after Spectre, Pip’s second solo book for Ace. Tee and Pip had been sitting on the news until they finished their 11 p.m. reading, and it had been driving them crazy. By the time they popped the champagne, they were the ones practically fizzing.

Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine toast the sale fo Books & Braun to Harper
Collins EOS Books. If you want to see the follow-up kiss, you'll need to check out
my Flickr gallery.

Everyone in the packed room was right there with them, too. There’s not much better in the worlds of writing and fandom than watching people who’ve worked hard and paid their dues for years finally come into their own.

There was just one downside. By the time we finished cheering and toasting, the bar had closed. It was wrong and terrible, but part of me understands.

There was so much pixie dust flying around, they would've had to send the whole place to the cleaners.


For more Balticon photos and notes--including shots of the two Gails (Martin and Carriger), Keith R. A. DeCandido, Misty Massey, the Legendary Triple Launch and much, much more, please, check out my Balticon 2010 gallery on Flickr. Enjoy!

04 June 2010


Do you have an ereader?

No? Do you want one?

That's right, folks. In celebration of the release of BLOOD AND DESTINY, I will be giving away a Sony Pocket Reader to ONE lucky winner.

How do you enter? I'm so glad you asked!

Simple: SAVE YOUR RECEIPT when you purchase BLOOD AND DESTINY between March 1st and June 21st.

EMAIL (or forward) the receipt to chamberskaye @ gmail.com (remove the spaces, please)

That's it!

Interested in checking out the story?


****3/21/2010 - PLEASE NOTE: The receipt MUST INCLUDE THE ORIGINAL HEADER showing origin information****

You don't want to buy the book? That's okay, there's an alternative way to enter.

Email me for details!

Can I enter more than once? Yes! You may enter ONCE by each method.

How will I know you received my entry? I will happily thank you with an email reply.

**NOTE** If I haven't responded to you in 24 hours, please resend!

How will the winner be decided? The winner will be chosen by random drawing on June 21st and notified by email.

Please note: Digital Receipt should include your name and address.

DUPLICATE RECEIPTS sent under more than one name will result in disqualification of both parties.

02 June 2010

Old dog, new tricks

Okay, so I'm not that old, but the big 4-0 is definitely on the horizon. But I am off to the New Jersey Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference this weekend. This is my first ever writing conference.

I've been writing for nine years (almost). Well, seriously writing anyway. Writing things I wanted other people to read. Yeah, so nine years and five books (published) later, and I'm finally going to a writing conference. There are reasons it's taken me so long. First of all, I can finally afford to go. Second, there was a time when I thought I could learn everything I needed to know over the internet and just by doing.

So why am I going, if I'm already published? With no agent and no big NYC contract, I think I'm still missing something. And this is part of my New Year's resolutions, from like, two years ago. This conference will be loaded with writers, agents, and editors. It's worth going just for that. I like networking (reminds me: note to self- pack more business cards) with people. As much as I enjoy SF/F cons and meeting people there, I realize I should have been doing this years ago. But as I said, my finances didn't allow it.

Being a member of professional organizations is something all writers should do. Keep in touch with what's being sold and where, so you can send your darling manuscript to the right people.

Because being a writer - a professioal writer - means much more than just putting words in the right order. Whether you like it or not, you have to understand the business. Too many starry-eyed newbies think that publishing is about the writer. Uh-uh. Publishing, the business, is about making money selling books. Which means it's reader driven, not writer driven. I've heard even more starry-eyed newbies state that they have some right to be published, that publishers are missing out on their Golden Words because they're more interested in selling books.

Well, yeah, of course they are. It's their BUSINESS. They buy what they think they can sell. Are they always right? Nope. But they're still in business, which means they're not always wrong, either.

So I'm off to spend two days seeing if I can't meet some new people and maybe learn some new tricks. I'll take the camera and maybe do a photoblog when I get back.

For the next one, people are telling me I should go to the NJ RWA conference...