Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!


What are you doing on New Year's Eve? Partying? Making New Year resolutions? Spending a quiet evening at home? In the past, I've either went out or spent the evening at home, reading and watching TV, but this year I'm doing something different-my three oldest grandsons are going to ring in the New Year with me by spending the night. (Since it's two nine year olds and a seven year old, we might not make it until midnight!) I'm sure the evening will include Lego's, Bakugan, and some Dr. Seuss stories. (HORTON HEARS A WHO is a particular favorite! *g*) With three active little boys, I also expect there to be a certain amount of chaos involved, and I know my house will be in another mess come morning.

Will this be the most exciting New Year's Eve I've ever spent? Probably not, unless we decide to set off the volcano kit that I bought for them, but it should be fun. It's also something that my mother always did. When my oldest three children were little, my mother had them over night every New Year's. They would have their own little party with hats and noise makers, the latter of which she always very kindly sent home with them. (Btw-the day the tooters finally wore out was always a good one as far as I was concerned!) Then they'd sit around the TV and watch the ball in New York City's Time Square drop. To this day, my oldest kids still recall those New Year's Eve celebrations spent with my mom.

And isn't that one of the things this season is about...making memories that last through the years?

So bring on the chaos, the mess, and whatever else might happen tomorrow night. Hopefully, when these three little guys have children of their own, they'll look back as fondly as their parents do on a New Year's Eve spent with Grandma!!! (And yes, I'll be sending their noise makers home with them!!! I hope their parents enjoy them as much as I did!! *evil grin*)

Everyone have a Happy New Year and a bright, successful 2011!!!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy New Year!


Hope the holidays are going well for everyone. It’s a busy time of year, and as much as we all say we’re going to do it, it’s often hard to slow down and just enjoy the season.

Sending along my best wishes along with this little bit of advice I recently found. It's a quote from a man named Carl Bard. Good words to contemplate at the beginning of a new year.


Though no-one can go back
and make a brand-new start,
anyone can start from now
and make a brand-new end.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!! I hope the next few days are joyous ones!! Like everyone else, I've a ton of things to do, so this is going to be short...the winners of last week's drawing are:

Mariska
Sharon S.
Rosie

Congratulations! Please send your mailing address to shirley@shirleydamsgaard.com and I'll get your signed copy in the mail to you next week!

Again, Merry Christmas, and everyone have a safe holiday!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Did You See It?


Here’s the thing about Cleveland in December–it’s cold! Especially out here in the suburbs, far from the lake that (since it still isn’t frozen) keeps the lakeshore area a tad warmer. Here, directly to the south of the city and on higher ground, we’ve already gotten more than two feet of snow this season. Between the snow cover and the plunging temperatures, things can get chilly.

There’s no time that proves that quite like 2 o’clock in the morning, and nothing that proves that even a little cold isn’t going to stop us Clevelanders like a total lunar eclipse.

Did you see it?

In the wee small hours of Tuesday morning, my daughter and I ventured out into the driveway to watch. We were dressed less than fashionably: boots, coats, hats, gloves, hoods. And we made hot chocolate to help keep us warm.

Our biggest problem (another thing typical of Cleveland) was the clouds. In fact, we thought we might not see the eclipse at all. But at 1:30 am, when I heard it was supposed to start, I walked out and saw a break in the clouds. There must have been a lot of wind aloft because the clouds up there were floating and flying. On the ground, fortunately, things were calm.

The breaks in the clouds allowed us to see most of the eclipse, and we watched until the earth’s shadow completely hid the moon. For a while, our world was plunged into rusty shadows. Since Monday night/Tuesday morning was also the Winter Solstice, I had a candle burning out on the bridge that spans our tiny creek. The combination of fire and snow and the spectacular show in the sky made for a memorable evening. Er...morning.

Since I won’t be checking in until next week–Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the nice list

I have to tell you how impressed I am this holiday season. I don't know what's different - I'm sure everyone still has long shopping lists and lately, less money, but it seems like everyone is in a much better mood than in years past.

This morning, I headed to the mall, almost afraid to go. But I needed an outfit for Christmas eve (we're hosting 23 family members) and I want to look nice. So into the fray I went. There was the same frenzy of last-minute shoppers, the same lack of parking spaces, but everyone was nice.

On the way in, at a cross-roads where two lines of cars met, everyone took turns. People chatted in line. The clerks were available...and helpful. It was so strange. Yet neat. Yet, well, strange. I had that same experience on Black Friday, the last time I tried to get out for a good chunk of time and get things done. Everything else I did online because I figured it would be too crazy otherwise.

So what about everybody else? Are you noticing better crowds this year, or did I just get lucky?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Better to Give...

Christmas is almost upon us!! Like I need to remind everyone, right??? I hope all your preparations are moving along and you're having as stress-free holiday season as possible! Right now, I'm feeling pretty good about the whole thing-did most of my Christmas shopping yesterday and only went a little bit over budget! Not bad for me...usually it's a lot over! Anyway, since I'm finally getting into the spirit of this season (better late than never!), I thought I'd do a little giveaway. Post a comment telling us what's been your favorite topic this year on Something Wicked and I'll enter your name in a drawing for one of three signed copies of THE SEVENTH WITCH. I'll post the winners next week!

Got to fly for now-I'll look forward to hearing what you have to say!! Take care!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tweet, Tweet!


I have never been shy about confessing that I’m not very technological. Oh, I can get by on the computer. I’ve even done Power Point demonstrations for writing workshops. But when it comes to all this new social networking stuff, I must admit, I’m at sea.

Yes, I have a FaceBook page. And yes, it’s nice to see what friends and family are up to once in a while. In fact, it’s often the only way I know what my adult children are doing. But other than that . . . well, honestly as many times as I’ve tried to wrap my head around it, I can’t for the life of me figure out why any of it matters.

And then there’s Twitter. Really? Checking in constantly to update the world on where you are and what you’re doing? Could there be any bigger hubris? And frankly, folks, do you think anyone cares?

Well, maybe they do. Maybe this is a brave new world and this is how friends stay in touch and keep close and communicate. And maybe it works for them so I say, have at it! But as I was thinking of all this yesterday, I kept a list. If I was a Twitterer (or is it a Tweeter?), here’s what I would have posted yesterday:

9 o’clock
Tea and email. Lots of business correspondence to catch up on.

10 o’clock
Tea, Cheerios and the USA Today online crossword. It’s a ritual.

11 o’clock
Butt in chair, working

12 o’clock
Butt in chair, working

1 o’clock
Salad and four Saltines while butt in chair, working

2 o’clock
Butt in chair, working

3 o’clock
Butt in chair, working

4 o’clock
Butt in chair, working

5 o’clock
Butt in chair, working

I dunno, would anyone really want to be in my social network and read this stuff?

I know I wouldn’t!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Demon slayers and chocolate

Lots of people have been asking about the print edition of The Last of the Demon Slayers. I can tell you that it is coming soon. Yay! I'd hoped to have it out before my publisher's original release date, which was at the end of December. That's still the goal.

The files are with the printing company and we're waiting to see the first book, hot off the presses. That could happen in as little as a few days. Once I can get my hands on it and make sure it is everything it should be and more, then we'll start making them available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon and your favorite independent booksellers.

I'll be sure to blog about it and also send out an email blast to my newsletter readers. And you aren't getting the newsletter yet, just click here and sign up. It's quarterly, it's free and I do a lot of exclusive giveaways just for newsletter readers.

On to more chocolate-y things. I made the grand mistake of buying the turtles for last week's giveaway and then storing them right on my kitchen counter where they've been taunting me for the last four days. Ak. So Donnas, you're the winner! Please send along your snail mail address and I will gladly send the tempting confections your way. Drop me a line at angie @ angie fox.com

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Write or Wrote?

Now that I'm finished with my edits and while I wait for the verdict from my editor, I've turned my attention to other projects-namely my short story collection-SHADOW TALES.(But at this point, it seems a more appropriate title might be NEVER ENDING SHADOW TALES.) It's taking me forever to finish this collection, and if truth be told, I'd really planned on it being done last July! To be fair, I suppose I should take into consideration that for most of that time I was writing LOVE LIES BLEEDING and working full time, but still...

So what's the deal? I can write an 84,000 word manuscript, but can't finish a measly 15,000 word story in a relatively short period of time? I discovered something-I'm a quarter of the way into the story and I'm using the wrong point of view. I had been using limited third person, past simple, and it just wasn't working for me. I felt way too removed from the protagonist and I really didn't care that she had all these problems! There wasn't a sense of immediacy for me. Now I've switched, rewritten the first scene (for the third time, I might add) and changed it to first person, present simple. Am I happier with it now? Sort of. I do feel more invested in the problems I'm creating for the protagonist, and the fact that it's in the present does up the tension.

But using this style is definitely out of the box for me. I've written in first person and third person, but never used present simple. (I think that's the proper terminology. I gotta admit, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to The Chicago Manual of Style!) This is a whole new challenge for me as a writer. And I am going to keep slogging away at it, even if this story is never read by anyone but me. I figure at the minimum, it will be a good learning experience.

Now I have a question-since so much of my brain power this week has been spent on pondering POV and which tense to use (who says a writer's life isn't exciting?? *g*) I'd like to ask you what you think. As a reader, or as a writer, what style do you prefer? Or does it make a difference to you? (Personally, as a reader, I fall into the latter group. As long as it's a good story, I don't care what POV or tense is used.)

Let me know how you feel-depending on how everyone answers-I might have to go back and change it again!!!

That's all for this week-see you next Thursday.

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Do Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well

I’m taking an online workshop on how to give an online workshop.

I know, sounds strange, right? But it actually makes a lot of sense. I’ve been asked to teach an online workshop on paranormal mysteries in early 2012, and to help me prepare, I’m "auditing" this class. That means I’m trying to keep a low profile.

One of the exercises we’ve been asked to do is really interesting, and I thought I’d throw it out here. Our instructor has asked us to make a list of things we’ve done, things we’re good at, things we have a talent for. In terms of this workshop, we’re supposed to be studying our lists and using them to create online workshops of our own. In terms of just having a little fun, I think it would be interesting to hear what blog readers have to say.

Make a list of your own. What jobs have you had? What are your hobbies? What are your talents?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

I can write a mystery
I weave, knit, crochet, spin (really badly)
I once edited employee newsletters
I’ve been a copy editor
I’ve had retail experience in a clock shop and a yarn store and long, long ago, in a health food store
I raise honeybees and I’ve harvested honey
I live with a chronically ill son
I have worked as a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (see above) mapping and setting up the yearly walk at which the organization raises approx. $1 million.
In addition to mystery, I’ve published historical and contemporary romances, young adult horror and a children’s book.
I like to hang out in cemeteries and I’ve learned a lot about gravestone symbolism and history
I can read Tarot cards.
I’ve done a workshop on how to use Tarot cards to plot fiction and create characters
I like to drive golf carts
I once attended Queen’s College at Oxford University in England
I enjoy taking photographs and love my digital camera
I own an Airedale
I own a canary. His name is Perry, and he’s named after Perry Mason, though the way he sings, it could also be Perry Como.
I make really good caramel corn

I’m not sure any of this will ever translate into an online workshop, but it’s a fun exercise. Try it yourself, and share your results!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A holiday tale...and giveaway

I was about to revive an old holiday tradition last night when I realized that a lot of other people must be doing the same thing.

You see, growing up, we had those big holiday bulbs on the tree. Do you remember them? They were the old fashioned lights. And I loved them. Probably because I remember sitting in the living room as a kid and just watching the tree.

When I moved out, I actually took my parent's big holiday lights with me. Yes, it was an unnatural attachment. Anyhow, I used those lights for years, until I got married and my husband gently pointed out that my beloved light strings were starting to short out, running too hot and to top it off - they'd burned large brown spots into the tree.

So with great reluctance, I gave up the big, bold lights for the newer, smaller, flashy ones. The replacements were pretty. Life moved on. But I still missed my old standbys.

Flash forward to late November of this year. I was wandering through Hobby Lobby and saw my old fashioned lights. Multicolor! They were gorgeous. I so wanted them! But in a temporary bout of insanity (or possibly shock) I didn't get them. I waited. They'd still be there in a week or two, right?

Well, last night we were putting up the tree. We were ready for the lights and I was telling my husband about the lights-that-got-away. Whether it was the wistfulness in my voice or the fact that I'd been thinking of Christmas lights for two weeks, I'll never know. But Jim encouraged me to put on my coat and go out and get them. He'd put them up that night.

Excited, I rushed right up to Hobby Lobby and to the lights aisle and to where they were - and they were gone. According to the guy working there, almost all of their holiday decorations are getting scarce. It seems like December 6 is too late for lights. Who knew?

It seems the tradition will have to wait until next year. Be warned - I'll be scouting the Christmas displays as they go up in July (or earlier - it seems earlier every year). And because chocolate makes everything better, I'd like to give away a box of chocolate turtles to one lucky commenter, drawn at random. Just tell me your favorite holiday tradition.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Something Wicked welcomes JL Wilson



As I look back on 2010, I realize that this was a watershed year for me in all ways. What ways? Let me count them:
· Life: this was the year my mother died (just a month ago). She was 91 and led a relatively active life up until a week before she died. I’m grieving for myself, not her. Her health had failed and she was ready to ‘move on to the next thing,’ as she put it. I was a primary caregiver for her in the last years of her life, and it made me realize how much I enjoyed that role. I miss it more than I thought I would, just as I miss her.
· “Real” career: This year marks my 25th year in my chosen career (professional technical writer). I stumbled into this career by accident. I have four college degrees, two in computer science and two in English. It seemed like a natural progression to merge them all into one career and it’s sustained me all these years. I really enjoy my job, my co-workers, and my boss. I am so fortunate to have this job and when Mom was sick, I realized that even more as I was able to travel to be with her and still telecommute, with the blessing of my company and my boss. I make good money, I’m challenged, and I’m valued. What more can a person ask?
· My writing career: This year marks the end of my fourth year of my publication journeys. My first book released in June of 2007 and since then 18 of my books have released. I have contracts for 5 more books next year and I have 4 books written, waiting to submit. I’ve enjoyed my publishing experiences, but I’m restless to move on to a new challenge. I’m sure I’ll still write for publication, but I may try a new publisher, or I may try self-publishing, or I may try … who knows what?
· Health: I had some challenging health issues this year that have stumped all the doctors I visited. It made me realize that medicine is really an art, not a science, as we would like to think. These are the sort of health problems that aren’t life-threatening, but are life changing in that I have to adjust how I do my daily life in order to accommodate pain and discomfort. So I haven’t been aggressive about pursuing ‘a cure,’ because I’m not convinced there is one (and I don’t want to spend more hours in an MRI machine, thank-you-very-much).
So what does this all add up to?
It has reinforced my firm belief that life is a teeter-totter and for every high, there’s a low, and vice versa. My mother died, but…I suddenly have much more free time, time to pursue new interests and challenges. My day job is great…and I need to remember that when I’m on deadline and working bunches of overtime. My writing career is just that—a career. I’m in charge of it, and I need to determine what I want to do with it. And my health, while shaky at times, is still okay. I need to re-intensify my physical therapy and take charge of my aches and pains and not let them slow me down…much.
The more I consider it, the more I think that publishing is like a microcosm of life. Trends come and go, publishing houses rise and fall, sales ebb and flow. And through it all, we continue to write stories people want to read about characters we love. It may seem like our success if out of our control and at the whim of editors and agents, but it all depends on how you define success. Today’s triumph will be balanced by tomorrow’s rejection letter. That odd story you’re writing may be tomorrow’s trend. That agent who rejected you may contact you a year from now and ask for more submissions.
Life is a big roller coaster. It’s up to you to hang on and try to enjoy the ride. It won’t always be happy and there will be some stomach-churning dips. But just wait…a peak is coming and a spectacular view is waiting to be seen. It’s all just a matter of time.
J L Wilson writers mysteries (with a touch of romance), and a paranormal/political thriller series set on a distant planet where telepathy is the norm, marriage is an anomaly, and the government is hiding a huge secret… Read more about it at http://www.jayellwilson.com.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Family Sayings

After reading Casey's post yesterday, all I can say is that there must be something going around. Either that or all the stars are aligned just right to cause a harried existence. And her post brings up one of my family's favorite sayings..."No rest for the wicked."

Well, I've decided I must be pretty bad!! I've spent the last month working on the edits and revisions for the new "Jess McConkey" book, LOVE LIES BLEEDING. I'm happy to say they're finished. (A day early too, I might add! A record for me when it comes to deadlines!) And the second draft is now in the hands of my editor. Time for me to celebrate and rest on my laurels, right? Ah...no! I did celebrate for about five minutes, but now it's onto the next project-a short story collection that I've been diddling around with off and on for the last few months. There's an e-book publisher who might be interested, and I've promised my agent to have the collection ready for them to take a look-see by the middle of December.

Will I make it?? Maybe. Like most women, whether you're a writer or not, I'm juggling twenty different things. And with Christmas and four of my six grandchildren's birthdays coming up this month, finishing this collection in two weeks is going to be a little dicey.

But here's another favorite family saying, one my late husband was very fond of using-"How do you eat an elephant? Answer...one bite at a time." So when my "elephant" seems to have reached mammoth proportions, I try and remember that. Focus on one thing, get it done then move onto the next. Is it easy? Not always for someone like me. I have a tendency to run off willy-nilly in ten different directions at once.

Here's another thing that I remember...like Casey, this is the life I've chosen, and I'm very, very fortunate to have deadlines! I appreciate more than I can say the things that writing has brought into my life-the challenges, the people I've met, and the lovely e-mails that I've received from readers. Without them, my world would've been a lot smaller!

So what are my thoughts as I face the month of December, with all its hustle and bustle? Bring on the elephant...I've got my knife and fork ready! *g*

That's it for this week-everyone have a great upcoming, and as stress free as possible, weekend!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Time Waits for No Man...

... It was one of my dad's favorite sayings and I have to admit, back in the day, I had no idea what he was talking about. But with age comes wisdom, right? Well, then I must be getting old, because these days, dad's words are making a whole bunch of sense.

They were really brought home to me yesterday when I realized how the clock is always ticking for writers.

Deadlines (official and personal), library appearances, bookstore signings . . . there’s always something that keeps us busy. Add to all that, of course, the day-to-day minutia of being a writer. Back in the day when things were handled via mail, there was always lag time. Get a note from your editor? You had a week or so to repond. These days with information moving as fast as lightning, editors and agents who send emails expect answers back quickly. There’s publicity to think about, too, as well as things like websites and blogging.

Yesterday I sat here as I do most every day, working on Pepper Martin mystery #8. It’s due to my publisher in January, and for now, we won’t talk about how far along it is (or isn’t). Let’s just say that so far, writing this book has been a whole lot like trying to do the backstroke in a swimming pool filled with chocolate pudding. Oh, I’m making progress. But it’s slow, so slow!

Then lo and behold, things finally clicked. Don’t ask my how. Don’t ask me why. All I know is that when it happens, I’m grateful. I wrote 13 pages, a huge daily total for me. And I knew I’d sit back down today and just take off where I stopped.

Until the page proofs for Pepper Martin mystery #7 landed on my doorstep. They need to be read and returned.

And I heard that the revision letter on the first button mystery is due to arrive today. That, too, will need to be dealt with, though until I see what my editor would like changed, I don’t know how big or small a project we’re talking.

So much to do, and not enough hours in the day to do it all!

Not that I’m complaining or anything. Sure, it can be stressful. And yes, I sometimes toss and turn at night thinking about all I need to accomplish and how little time there is to do it. But at the same time, I remember when I used to dream about having these problems. I’m grateful. Believe me, I’m grateful for every deadline and every revision letter (well, most of them) and every email from every reader who tells me how much he/she is enjoying my books.

Now if only I could just pack a few more hours into every day.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You hear that? It's Lizzie!

As a reader, I know what characters look like and sound like. It's all in my head. And when a television, movie or audio version of the book comes along, it can throw me for a loop. So when they decided to do audio versions of the Accidental Demon Slayer books, I wasn't sure what to think. Casting would be crucial, that's for sure, because the entire story is told from our reluctant demon slayer's point of view.

I shouldn't have worried. The geniuses at Audio Realms got it right and then some. They cast the perfect Lizzie. She's straightforward, funny and even has a touch of a southern accent, perfect for playing the Atlanta-born demon slayer.

I also thought it was interesting that the second book will come out first. In fact, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers is up now. The first 100 copies sold will be signed, limited-edition releases. And I'll bet it will come out as soon as I sign those copies. This week, I promise!

Then Audio Realms will be doing the re-release version of The Accidental Demon Slayer. Since I own the rights, I'm going back in to enrich the world and some of the characters. There won't be any story changes, just a lot of fun things I know now after writing the later books in the series. It should be pretty neat.

Incidentally, I'm also going to be replacing the current Kindle/Nook/Kobo/e-book versions of The Accidental Demon Slayer with the re-release, and a trade paperback will likely follow. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ditto to Casey's Post

As I take a deep breath before the thundering herd (commonly known as my family-hey, I consider eleven adults, eight children under the age of 12, and two dogs a herd! *g*) descends on my house, I thought I'd take just a moment and think about my blessings. I'm sure my list is pretty much the same as everyone's, but it still bears stating.

1. My family-I've been blest with four children and six grandchildren. Everyone's healthy, and when it comes to my adult children, I can say without bias (I hope!) that they've all grown into nice people. And my grandchildren?? This may not still be true when the teenage years hit, but right now, they actually like spending time with me!! As I do with them-I love listening to their honest (sometimes brutally so) take on the world. It's fun watching them grow and seeing their personalities emerge.
2. My health-for someone who doesn't exercise all that much and whose diet leaves a lot to be desired, I'm in pretty good shape. (And believe me, I knock on wood as I write this!)
3. My friends-I'm lucky to include in that group funny, smart women who are always there when I need them whether it's to hear me bleat about my latest plot or offer sage advice about a personal problem. And I can't imagine my life without them.
4. My dog-maybe this one's little sappy, but Roxy has been a good companion and I do dearly love her!
5. I have a roof over my head and food on my table. Just a couple of weeks ago as I was traveling, I saw a man standing at a stoplight holding a sign that said "Will work for food." His plight made whatever worries I think I might have very small in comparison.
6. My career as an author-I've been very, very lucky to have an agent and an editor who have always been encouraging. They've had faith in me when I've lacked it in myself. This career has expanded my world-I've met people who never would've come into my life without it.
7. Freedom-I'm lucky to live in a country, regardless of whatever its problems might be, that allows me to pursue my life as I see fit. I can go where I want, say what I want, write what I want, and do (as long as it's not breaking the law!) what I want. There are many place where people, especially women, can't do that.
8. And last but not least, the readers-without them, the above mentioned career would've been over after the first Ophelia and Abby. And I can't tell you how many times a supportive email from one of them has brightened what otherwise would've been a dark day. I'm grateful to each and every person who has taken part of their time to read my books!!

There are many more blessings that I could list, but I do have the thundering herd showing up in a few hours so I'd best get that thirty pounds of turkey started!! Everyone have a safe, and very, very Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!




My wishes for your holiday . . .


Family and friends to share your day with.
Good conversation, good food, lots of laughs.
Relaxation.

Oh, and if you're really lucky, a beagle to cook and serve the meal!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Great Fowl Debate

I have a decision to make today. It's not quite of the demon slaying variety, so that's good. No minions of the devil hiding out in my office. No imps in the garage.

No, this challenge is completely turkey related. You see, our family is big on Thanksgiving - especially leftovers. But we head up to my in-laws on the actual holiday, then to the Foxes on Saturday. Jim's family has no leftovers and the Foxes tend to have offbeat celebrations with things like BBQ, roast beef and pasta. So what are leftover lovers to do? We have our own celebration the Tuesday before.

So tonight I'm set to cook up turkey with all of the fixings just for our immediate family. I thought I was doing good (famous last words, right?). I did the shopping this past Thursday and bought a 15-pound bird. We started thawing it right away, anticipating delectable turkey goodness would be ours.

Except that it's not thawed yet. It's been four days. Now normally I'd do a water bath, but we have hardwood floor installers in the kitchen today. I can't even make it to my sink, much less bathe a turkey. Someone on Facebooks suggested a tub bath, but these installation guys already think I'm slightly crazy. One of them caught me talking to myself while writing yesterday. So do I really further the "writers are crazy" theory by asking them to move their tools so I can take the turkey out of the fridge and bring it upstairs with me?

Okay, yeah. I'll do it. I have no shame. And besides, I'm really craving that bird. But the next time you hear how crazy writers can be, feel free to blame me and my tub turkey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Muskego

Once again, "Murder and Mayhem in Muskego" did not disappoint! I had a wonderful time! From the "bathtub beer" at Jon and Ruth Jordan's to the hot discussion about autopsies over dinner at Slim McGinns (about the latter...as I've mentioned many times...authors are a little crimped around the edges!), it was a fun filled weekend.

Of course, one of the best things about this weekend was serving on a panel with Julie Hyzy, Deb Baker/Hannah Reed (she had a dual identity this weekend!), Joanna Campbell Slan, Denise Swanson, and Tom Schreck as our moderator. (Poor Tom...pressed into service yet again this year, but, being the good sport that he is, put up with our razzing graciously!) These ladies, along with Tom, are not only terrific authors, but are so quick with the quips and the humor that they make me look good! It truly is an honor to be on the same panel with them.

Our panel was supposed to be "Just Can't Get Enough-Why We Write," which it was...a little...but we also had a lively discussion concerning why we write "cozies." Here's the deal-traditionally, because our sleuths are amateurs and women; there's no steamy sex; no gore; and murder tends to happen "off camera" so to speak, the poor cozy is considered by some as having "less" value than some of our more graphic cousins.

Do I agree? Absolutely not! The plots are character driven and in addition to the protagonist, there's usually a rich cast of secondary characters with all sorts of wonderful eccentricities. And said protagonist not only has to deal with solving the mystery, but also those issues that face every woman...home, a job, friendships, a family. She does so with a lot of verve and spunk, which for me as a reader is very appealing. The hero rushing in at the end to save the heroine just doesn't do it for me anymore. Give me a woman who can take care of herself!

But here's one of the most rewarding things for me as a cozy author-we cross generational lines. There's something for everyone. Mother, daughter, grandmother can read these books and be entertained without worrying about whether or not it's "age-appropriate". And they can share that enjoyment with each other.

So am I proud to have written a cozy series? Just like Julie, Deb, Joanna, and Denise, I'll step right up to the plate and declare "You bet!"

Take care and have a good one!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Hard Day's Fright


Pleased to give you a first look at the cover of Pepper Martin mystery #7. "A Hard Day's Fright" will be on store shelves on April 5.

Like the Beatles? So did a group of teenagers who attended a Beatles concert at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium in 1966. One of those kids, a girl named Lucy, never made it home and was never seen again.

That leaves Pepper with a ghost on her hands. It's tough enough to find the body of a murder victim from 40 years ago. Worse, when the killer wants to make sure the secret stays hidden.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Slays in Vegas

Happy Tuesday! I'm just getting ready to sit down this morning and write the ending to What Slays in Vegas. It's the story of the one demon that Lizzie didn't annihilate in The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers.

Whoops. You didn't know she missed one? Neither does Lizzie. But that's okay because Shiloh is only a half-succubus and she has plenty of problems without Lizzie and the biker witches on her tail.

It's been a really fun story to write. Last spring, an editor at Kensington approached and asked if I'd be interested in writing a novella for the So I Married a Demon Slayer anthology. Of course I said yes because who wouldn't want to write about demon slayers? I wanted to do something related to my Accidental Demon Slayer books, but not necessarily a direct tie, so Shiloh came into being.

The poor thing is under a terrible demon boss. Nobody respects her and she couldn't even get slayed the last time because she has too much good in her. Nevertheless, she's doing her best to channel her inner demon. In fact, she's helping to re-take Las Vegas for the succubi when she has a wild night with a guy who has a few secrets of his own. Their powers mesh in a bad way and she wakes up the next morning, married to a demon slayer. Talk about one heck of a hangover.

Now he won't give her an annulment (and a release of her powers) until she helps him take down her boss, who happens to be the demon ruler of Las Vegas. It's been a blast to write and I can't believe I may even finish it today. It just depends. I never know how these things will work once the writing session starts. I tend to go super slow in the beginning of a story as I think of each step and build up the plot. By the time the end rolls around, I'm more like a kid with a stack of blocks. I get to have a blast knocking them all down.

Off to write. Wish me luck. And watch out for those demons in Las Vegas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

This is going to be short today-in addition to working on the edits for LOVE LIES BLEEDING, I'm off to Muskgo Wisconsin for an event I absolutely love "Murder and Mayhem in Muskego"! (See below for the list of authors attending.) It's sponsored by The Muskego Public Library, Friends of the Library, Jon and Ruth Jordan, Crimespree Magazine, and Richard Katz of Mystery One Bookstore.

So if any of you out there are in the neighborhood, come join us!! I promise that you'll have a great time! (And if you can't join us, but would like a signed copy from one of the authors listed below, just contact Richard at Mystery One!)

That's it for this week-have a great upcoming weekend!

Best,
Shirley


Jeff Abbott
Brian Azzarello
Deb Baker
Brett Battles
Chelsea Cain
Sean Chercover
Reed Farrel Coleman
Blake Crouch
Shirley Damsgaard
Sean Doolittle
Christa Faust
Shane Gericke
Victor Gishler
Libby Fischer Hellmann
Victoria Huston
Julie Hyzy
Daniel Judson
Julie Kramer
Michael Lister
A. J. Marhofke
RIDLEY PEARSON - Guest of Honor
Henry Perez
Scott Phillips
Kat Richardson
Marcus Sakey
Tom Schreck
Joanna Slan
Neil Anthony Smith
Denise Swanson
Martyn Waites
Brian Wiprud
Zip

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Buckeye for the Books!

I went all out decorating my table for Buckeye Book Fair.
Amazing what bargains you can find after Halloween...how do you
like the sparkly tombstone?
Had a great time at last week's Buckeye Book Fair. Fabulous event, and it was nice to catch up with all the readers I've met there over the years. Also great to meet new readers and to sign many, many books.

Thank you, Ohio readers. See you next year...the first Saturday of November!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Last of the Demon Slayers releases today!

The day is finally here. Amazon has released The Last of the Demon Slayers. Yes, it's a month early and yes, it's an Amazon exclusive (for the moment).

Amazon is going to release The Last of the Demon Slayers as an ebook first. We're still working on a date for the paperback release. But even if you don't have an e-reader, you can still get the book on Kindle for PC (what I use) or Kindle for Mac. Nook, Kobo and other electronic versions will be up in the next week or so.

Now don't expect all of my books early. This is a special circumstance. As many of you may know, the publisher of the Accidental Demon Slayer books has been having trouble distributing books and paying authors. Dorchester wasn't meeting its contractual obligations, so after thinking long and hard on it, I decided to take back the rights to The Last of the Demon Slayers.

The Last of the Demon Slayers is a great addition to the series. I'm so stinking proud of how all of the elements came together on this one - Lizzie, the biker witches, Pirate, Flappy the dragon. They're on a cross-country road trip where anything can (and does) happen.

Oh and of course we have a new fun quiz. Can't release a book without a bit of goofiness. What's Your Biker Witch Weapon of Choice? Mine is the Mange Spell. It wards off demons, gremlins and telemarketers. Pirate was excited to get the Anti Imp Cannon. It works like a potato shooter, only with more sparks. And you know how Pirate likes to take charge.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for all of your emails wondering just when we'd have this book out. Today is a good day. I'm so glad Lizzie and the gang are on their way to readers, full speed ahead on a new adventure.

And to celebrate the release of The Last of the Demon Slayers, take the What's Your Biker Witch Weapon of Choice? quiz, give us your answer below and you're entered to win a Kiss My Asphalt t-shirt, just like the biker witches wear. Good luck!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Love of Reading

I have a confession to make-my adult children aren't big "readers". In fact only one-my oldest daughter-has read all seven Ophelia and Abby. (My youngest daughter's excuse?? She had to live with me while I was writing them, so why should she have to read them, too? I guess she feels I talked a bit too much about the plots while going through my creative process! *g*) And it is a little embarrassing to be an author whose family doesn't read!

I don't know why they don't enjoy reading. I did try to encourage them. When they were little, I read to them and they all grew up knowing how much I loved books, but for some reason, it didn't carry over into their adulthood.

Now I have a second chance with my grandchildren, especially my three oldest grandsons. This weekend, I purchased five Scooby-Doo books; one about aliens; another about dragons; and the last one deals with mummys and Egyptology. (A side note: I also purchased a copy of WITCH WAY TO MURDER. One of the boys had started reading his mother's copy and thought it would be cool to have his very own. Of course as both his grandmother and the author, I was more than happy to comply! His only complaint..."the words are awful little, Grandma." But hey, he's only eight and most of the books he's read up to this point have had a lot of pictures.) After school tonight, I'm also taking the three of them to our new library here in Stuart.

I guess time will tell whether or not I'm successful this second time around. If I am, I feel I'll have given them one of the best gifts a grandmother could give her grandchildren...the love of reading.

Wish me luck!

That's it for this week-see you next Thursday!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buckeye Book Fair


Looking for the ideal way to feed your reading habit?

Start in on your Christmas gift list?

Support literacy programs?

Meet and mingle with authors?

Then I’ve got the perfect answer for you!

Buckeye Book Fair.

The Fair is this Saturday, November 6 at the Fisher Auditorium of the OARDC/OSU campus in Wooster, Ohio. Doors are open from 9:30-4 and as always, your $2 admission will allow you to meet more than 100 authors and illustrators.

Interested in children’s books? Will Hillenbrand will be there autographing his books, and illustrator Richard Cowdrey will lead a draw-along in the auditorium.

Looking for adventures on the road? Cleveland’s Neil Zurcher of "One Tank Trip" fame will be there, too.

Mysteries?

Oh boy, we’ve got you covered!

I’ll be there (natch) with both my Pepper Martin and my Cooking Class mysteries, along with Amanda Flower, Emilie Richards (Ministry is Murder), Carrie Bebris (Mr. And Mrs. Darcy novels), Judy Clemens, and many more.

Stop by, say hi, pick up a book (or two). Buckeye Book Fair is always the premier book event of the fall. For more information:

www.BuckeyeBookFair.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Election Day!

Voting always puts me in a good mood and gets me thinking about how lucky we are to have the right to do it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Something Wicked on Writing

The Writer’s Workshop at Liquid Silver Books

First, I’d like to thank Angie for inviting me today. Who am I? My name is Moni Draper. I’ve written e-books for the last ten-plus years under the pen names of Monette Michaels and Rae Morgan. I am currently a Senior Editor at LSB, but have acted as the acquisitions editor and as Senior Editor over the Terran Realm, a shared urban fantasy world. Enough about me, let’s talk about the workshop.

Some History: As the first Acquisitions Editor at LSB, I took the time in the early years to critique promising authors’ manuscripts. As our submissions grew, I, then Tina Burns and now Tracey West realized we couldn’t coach everyone. The mistakes and issues we saw seemed to be the same ones again and again. We decided to institute free workshops in our Forum, open to our authors and anyone else interested in taking the classes. We had two goals: one was to help our current authors fix common mistakes and issues in their manuscripts and the second was to assist a future crop of authors in honing their craft. A side benefit would be to promote Liquid Silver Books as a publisher who cares about quality.

The Workshops began as a bi-monthly feature in the Liquid Silver Forum, affectionately called SiN. The first year (2009) saw class topics such as Self-Editing, POV, Dialogue, Time Management, Jumpstart Your Writing, and Show versus Tell. From the feedback received and the class attendance, the initial Workshops were more than a success.

In 2010, I took over the coordination of the workshops and instituted monthly classes less a summer break of three months. This year we have taught Plot Structure, Writing Blurbs, Sagging Middles and Hitting the Wall, Writing M/M Romance, World Building, and just last month, Writing Hotter Sex Scenes. November’s class will be Writing the Synopsis and in December, Backstory. Our instructors are editors at Liquid Silver Books and best-selling authors such as TA Chase and Marisa Chenery.

How The Classes Work: The classes are taught usually on a weekend and on the Forum. The direct link to the Workshop sub-forum is as follows: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=237

The classes are taught as a mixture of lectures, Q&A, and writing assignments, where appropriate. When we ask the students to post original material for critiquing by the instructor, we have a Private Room which is password-protected and is only seen by the current class and the SiN moderators. The Private area material remains up for a month so the students can review the critiques and comments and then is deleted and the password changed for the next usage. In the main area of the workshop, all other materials and interaction within the class are then put into their own Room and available for anyone visiting the Public Area of SiN to read at their leisure.

The classes require the person interested in taking a class to sign up. In order to post, the class attendees must be members of the SiN Forum; this entails creating a screen name and a password. All of this is free to anyone who wants to learn more about the craft of writing.

The schedule for the last two classes of the year is a Sticky in the Workshop at the following link: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10965
The Sign Up Announcements are issued at the beginning of each month in which there is a class, here: http://www.liquidsilverbooks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10963

2011 Workshops: The schedule for 2011 is in the works, the classes will include repeats (Plot Structure, for example) mixed in with some new topics so that our experienced students can find something to take without repeating themselves. I again anticipate nine monthly classes with taking June, July and August off.

I’d like to invite anyone interested to visit SiN and the Workshop to read the Archives of past classes to see what we are all about. If you find this is something you think you might like to try, please sign up - - I’d love to see you in class!

Again, I want to thank Angie for inviting me. If anyone has specific questions, they can e-mail me at monettemichaels@gmail.com.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Critique Groups

Sorry to have missed the last two weeks, but things have been a little crazy. I'm still in the process of adjusting to the "no day job"! It isn't exactly what I expected-since every day is a different, I actually have to keep a calendar. For a dyed-in-the wool pantser like me, that's a challenge, plus I have to remember to look at it...another challenge! But things are falling into place and I'm slowly moving into my new life.

One of the things that I'm looking forward to the most in this new life is joining a critique group with three other writers. Now critique groups can be tricky-I've tried online groups before without much success. It seemed that there were always a couple in the group who weren't all that constructive in their opinions. You know the type-people who like to shred you just because they can? God knows when it comes to writing, my ego is fragile enough without getting every line ripped apart, so I've really wanted to avoid a situation like that again.

What do I think makes a good critique group? Well, regardless of what I said in the previous paragraph, I really don't want to hear "this is the best thing I've ever read." First of all, I wouldn't believe them, and second, my first mentor, the late John Tigges, once said that a person learns more from criticism than one does from compliments. That sounds a little harsh, but it is true to a degree. My goal has always been to improve my craft, and I can't improve if I don't know where that room for improvement lies. BUT there are good ways to deliver the message without destroying someone's confidence.

I think it's all about balance. My editor is an expert at this-she points out the holes, what doesn't ring true, yet at the same time, throws me an occasional bone, so I know that there are some things that I'm doing "right". As a result, my ego stays intact, but I learn at the same time.

And that's what I think I'm going to get out of participating in this group. From their remarks, I expect to gain new skills and have fun at the same time. We've already had one get-together and we're all on the same page as far as our views about writing and what we expect from this experience.

How about you? Anyone else in a critique group? If so, what do you think makes for a good group?

That's it for this week. Have a good one, and see you next Thursday!! I promise!

Best,
Shirley

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A New Game is Afoot!

I admit it, I was skeptical.

Well, in truth, skeptical isn’t exactly the right word. My heels were dug in, and in one hand, I waved the banner of Tradition! Literary Accuracy!! Truth!!!

No, no, no . . . I did not like the thought of the BBC and Masterpiece Mystery producing a new take on the Sherlock Holmes stories set squarely in the 21st Century.

Holmes and Watson on cell phones? Using GPS to solve crimes? Speaking in (heavens!) modern tones?

Oh yeah. Skeptical. Big time.

And then I watched "A Study in Pink," the first episodes in the new series.

It took a while for me to get pulled into the story. Like maybe 10 seconds or so. And then . . .

Good heavens, gentle reader, dare I say that I (who love all things Victorian and think that Jeremy Brett is the god of all Sherlockian actors) was smitten.

The show is smart, clever, and twisty-turny enough to keep any mystery lover engaged. Holmes (played by a young fellow named Benedict Cumberbatch) is an odd-looking creature, all planes and angles. He’s quirky and incredibly rude, wondering aloud at one point, what it’s like inside the heads of "ordinary" people. According to one of the police detectives, he’s a psychopath, but Holmes disputes this theory, telling her that he is, instead, a high-functioning sociopath. His mind is lightning-quick. His tongue is sharp. And it is sometimes firmly in cheek, like the evening Dr. Watson shows up and finds Holmes laid out on a couch. Watson fears drug use, but Holmes announces that it is, instead, a "three patch problem" (remember the three pipe problem from the original stories?) and he’s using nicotine patches to amp his thought processes.

As much as Holmes is the intellectual center of the stories, it’s Watson (played by Martin Freeman) who is the heart and soul. "A Study in Pink" opens with a flash of combat in Afghanistan and for those who cherish the stories, you’ll see how perfectly appropriate that is. Conan Doyle’s Watson was injured in Afghanistan and this modern Watson follows in his footsteps. He thinks he’s suffering from PSTD and his therapist has suggested he start a blog and write everything down. As it turns out, this isn’t PSTD at all. He’s bored, and it’s Holmes and his adventures who add the excitement back into Watson’s life and make him forget that he’s supposed to be an invalid.

The two characters play well off each other and the supporting cast is less cartoonish than in some versions of the stories (not the Brett ones, by the way, but then, those were perfect!). The writers refuse to go with the stereotypes and have given us a competent, serious Lestrade (not the usual bumbling old guy), a woman assistant, and a flighty coroner who clearly has eyes for Holmes but can’t seem to put her lipstick on straight when he’s around.

Skeptical? Not anymore. My only complaint is that there are only three episodes scheduled for this year and we’ll have to wait until next year for more.

You can find out more about the series–and go to Sherlock’s website and Wastson’s blog–here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00t4pgh

Friday, October 22, 2010

Something Wicked welcomes Keena Kincaid


Sometimes the scariest creatures out there are the ones so driven by obsession to fulfill their desire that everything else is just fuel for the fire.


In my current release, ENTHRALLED, the villain is terrifying to me because her motivations and desires are so very human. However, what she’s willing to do to reach her goal is beyond what most of us would ever consider—and then she goes even farther.

In ENTHRALLED, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine schemes to murder her husband, King Henry II, and rule as regent through her eldest son. The historical record concerning Eleanor and her husband is thin, sometimes conflicting, and lacks detail. Much of the motivation, affection, disappointment and hatred that stretched over the 37-year marriage must be inferred. But we do know that she not only encouraged estrangement between father and sons, but also actively led her sons in rebellion against the king in 1173.

My muse took it from there.

Eleanor is cold and manipulative, yet understandable. Well into her forties, her legendary beauty is fading and her husband flaunts his love for a younger mistress. She’s standing at the edge of irrelevancy—and she doesn’t like the view.

In my opinion, a good villain needs three things:
1. An understandable goal.
2. A firm belief that the end justifies the means.
3. A complex nature, complete with a good side, i.e. he may blow up the museum to stop the looting of his culture, but he takes his mother to church each Sunday.

So what do you think? What separates the cardboard baddies from the can’t forget villains?

Keena Kincaid is the author of four romance novels set in 12th century England. Her books are available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble online as well as anywhere ebooks are sold. You also can fan or friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and visit her blog, Typos and All. Leave a comment or just say hello to be entered into drawing for an e-copy of her newest release, ENTHRALLED.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Head Games

Finally, after nearly a month of working on the outline for Pepper Martin mystery #8, I began writing the book yesterday. A small victory to celebrate, but as always, outlining, then writing, makes me think about how many different hats writers wear.

Outlining, writing, re-writing, editing...each requires a different skill set and a totally different mindset, too.

When I’m outlining, I find myself more fully involved in the story than when I’m writing it. I get preoccupied (and this week, I let my son’s toasted cheese sandwiches burn because I was so busy thinking, I completely forgot about them). This is the time when all possibilities are considered, when ideas come together–or not. When they do, it’s on to the next plot point and the next idea. When they don’t . . .well, it often means backing up a couple steps, reconsidering, looking at things from a new angle.

Often plot points that seem insurmountable are easily fixed and those, too, are small victories. Sometimes, the problems that are the hardest to solve send the clearest messages: this is not the way the story should be going. Start all over again!

The actual writing seems to come from a different part of the brain. This is where words collide, where images float around like dust motes in a streak of sunshine. Sometimes what I want to say is clear, but more often, every word is a battle. Yesterday, I wrote nine pages and was insanely proud of myself. Of course, ask me about that today after I read over those pages and see if they’re really as brilliant as I hope!

I rewrite as I write, going over and over a sentence, a paragraph, a scene. Consequently, when I’m done with a book, there’s often not much left for me to do. That doesn’t mean I don’t put on my editor hat–another different skill–and look at the book as a whole, checking for inconsistencies, and flow and pacing.

It’s interesting, this creativity stuff, and it always makes me marvel at the workings of our brains. With any luck, mine will keep heading in the right direction, and that deadline that’s getting closer every day!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Werewolves and high tea

Thanks again to Kate Douglas for blogging with us yesterday! I first met Kate a few years ago in Dallas when our agent got a bunch of us together for a high tea. Can you picture a group of paranormal authors sitting around drinking Yorkshire Harrogate while discussing ways to vanquish demons, romance werewolves and make weapons easier to hide?

It's a wonder our waitress didn't run for the hills. Or maybe she was a demon slayer in training and was too busy taking notes. We only thought she was writing down our requests for more pastry and cucumber sandwiches (Those suckers were surprisingly tasty.).

But I'm glad our agent did get us together and that I've been able to touch base with Kate at many more writer events and on email. She's a fantastic storyteller and a great person too. And she's giving away goodies! That's always a bonus, right?

Five readers are going to win a copy of DemonFire, HellFire or a stuffed Bumper the dog. The winners are: Linda Henderson, N.S. Walters, Tammy, Tracey and Jane. Just email me at angie @ angie fox.com and I'll get your information to Kate!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Something Wicked welcomes Kate Douglas!














First of all, Angie, thank you so much for the invite to blog here at SOMETHING WICKED.
I sometimes wonder if people are getting sick and tired of me popping up all over the Internet, but my readers are nothing if not gracious...they’d never say a word to my face!
If I come across as a bit loopy today, please accept my apologies. I’ve been struggling with the current book I’m writing, CrystalFire, which is the fourth and final book in the DEMONSLAYERS series. When I started work on this one, I had a perfect visual for the opening and a fairly good idea what was going to come next. I’ve known from the very beginning, when I first proposed the series to my editor, that this last book would star Willow and Taron, two secondary characters who first appeared in DemonFire.
Taron is a Lemurian scholar who was fascinated by Willow, the tiny will o’ the wisp created as an assistant to help Dax, my ex-demon, survive in Earth’s dimension. Dax was a mercenary, hired to fight a demon invasion on Earth that threatened to tip the scales in the favor of evil, and Willow helped feed him energy to strengthen his powers...at least she did until the demon king ate her.
She ended up as mere consciousness existing inside Bumper the dog—a mutt that’s a cross between a pit bull and a poodle. I guess she’s a pitoodle...but BumperWillow, as everyone started calling the funny looking dog with the sprite inside, is a powerful ally in the fight against demonkind. She doesn’t look all that fierce—picture a pit bull with a blonde Shirley Temple wig.
Okay? Got that. STOP LAUGHING. Bumper is true warrior. Really.
So how does Willow end up as a heroine? To be honest, I wasn’t really sure, but then the demon king showed up and tried to take over Bumper’s body in an act of possession, but Willow shot a power burst at the demon. Unfortunately, her blue sparkles bounced off Taron’s sentient crystal blade, ricocheted across the room and zapped Bumper. And the demon king missed the dog and took over another man’s body and somehow Bumper’s consciousness ended up inside Willow, and Willow ended up with a full-sized woman’s body...and Taron doesn’t want to fall in love, but he’s having a really hard time fighting it. (Yes, I’m taking a deep breath here...) And Willow isn’t fighting it at all—she’s been stuck in that dog for way too long and now she’s finally got a chance to learn about life and love and all the things denied a two-inch tall sprite with sparkly wings.
Things a five foot, ten inch woman with masses of curly blonde hair doesn’t hesitate to try. Of course, Taron’s got issues—he’s avoided love all his life because of a fortune told him when he was a child. He knows that if he ever falls in love, he’s destined to experience unimaginable joy and unendurable pain, and it’s that unendurable pain that stops him every time.
So, we’ve got this tall, sexy Lemurian who’s nearly immortal, but he’s lived a celibate life as a scholar. In fact, he’s never even kissed a woman until Willow shows up and convinces him that since they’re both so curious about sex, it’s become the proverbial elephant in the parlor, and the best way to settle the issue is to go ahead and do the deed so they don’t wonder about it anymore.
Yeah. Right....like that’s going to help? And in the meantime, they’ve got their friend’s dad possessed by the demon king and they have to rescue Ed, but they’re all alone in the quest because all the other demonslayers are stuck in Sedona, which is all Taron’s fault because he sealed the portal they need to come home, and then Eddie Marks, one of the demonslayers, gets trapped in the void and, well...I still have no idea how it’s all going to work out, but that’s the joy of writing paranormal.
The whole process of putting together a story is asking “what if?” and then turning the muse free to figure it out. At least that’s my process. It’s worked for twenty-one novels and novellas in my Wolf Tales series and so far it’s working with the DemonSlayers. I never really know, going into a book, where it will take me, but the ride is always an adventure, and the hero and heroine always end up falling madly in love and finding their own happily ever after.
And that’s the main thing, isn’t it? Enjoying the ride and tagging along on a journey to find love. I go into a story thinking it’s my world and my rules, and then the gloves are off and the adventure begins. I hope you’ll join me on this one—DemonFire released last February 23, a day I celebrated by crashing my pickup into the side of a mountain. When HellFire came out, I stayed home, and when Nocturnal released I managed to make it to the grocery store safely, so it’s all good. StarFire, the third book in the series, will release in March, and CrystalFire is due out next Fall. Of course, I still need to figure out how I’m getting Eddy out of the void and then we need to get the demon out of Ed, but I’m not worried. Somehow, it always comes together.
I am curious, though. What is it you like best about paranormal? Why do you pick up a story about demons or werewolves or vampires rather than a contemporary romance or historical? Let me know your thoughts, and you might be one of the lucky readers to win either a copy of DemonFire, HellFire, Nocturnal or a stuffed Bumper the dog. I’m going to ask Angie to pick five winners for me. Did I say I love giving stuff away?

For more of Kate Douglas, visit

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Last of the Demon Slayers - speed bump!

Gah! It drives me crazy when great plans go wonky. On Tuesday, I announced that we'd be releasing The Last of the Demon Slayers today. It was going to be so cool. I even had it circled in red pen on my calendar.

And then late yesterday, we learned from Amazon that they need more time. How much more time? It shouldn't be more than a week. So here we are, at the starting block. Pirate is getting antsy. Flappy is eating the starting pistol and I have no idea what the biker witches are getting themselves into. They're probably at the all-you-can eat buffet.

But hey, on the bright side. The book is great. The ending made me cry (and not because of anything bad happening, but because of this sweet moment). And this book will come out soon. In the mean time, we just need to keep Pirate away from the hot dog vendors and the spells under wraps and we should be fine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunsets and Cemeteries


What's with me and sunset pictures lately? Just so pretty!





Gorgeous weather and a historic cemetery to explore--my idea of heaven!


Spent last weekend in upstate New York, in the area around Westfield, Lake Chautauqua and Jamestown. The breezes off Lake Erie make the area perfect for growing grapes, and there are any number of wineries nearby. We did our best to visit as many as we could, and tasted (and bought!) some nice wines.

Found some surprises in the area, too. Like two different cemetery tours in Jamestown. Of course, we had to participate. It’s all research for my Pepper Martin mysteries and besides, spending a late afternoon (and in the second case, a few nighttime hours) in a cemetery is my idea of vacation heaven!

The site of the tours was Lakeview Cemetery, a beautiful, garden-type burial ground established in 1859. On the first, daylight tour, we walked the grounds and listened as costumed re-enactors told us about the lives and times of the people buried there. The famous and the not-so-famous, buried side by side, all with interesting stories to tell.

Sunday night, we attended the "Twilight Mausoleum Tour." Talk about good timing! In the book I’m working on now (Pepper Martin mystery #8), Pepper needs to break into a mausoleum and steal the bones there. I won’t even try to explain why! Let’s just say it’s for a good cause.

This tour was perfect for research. Not only did we get to visit four mausoleums with a lantern-carrying, costumed tour guide, we got to go inside. Oh yes, I had ideas before, but actually being in the mausoleums...well, I thought of a couple different ways I can further complicate Pepper’s quest.

And of course, what’s a weekend away without looking at a gorgeous sunset. The one pictured here is over Lake Erie and I think it rivals the sunset photo I took in New Mexico.
There’s beauty galore in New York, good ideas to be had, and all those wineries. A winning weekend!



Hey, how often do you have a chance to go inside a mausoleum--at least while

you're still alive and kicking? (Cue the spooky music here!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Last of the Demon Slayers

Hey all, it's been a crazy week already. That's because I'm doing something completely different from the usual "sit down and think of ways for my characters to vanquish imps, demons and other supernatural nasties." Instead of writing, I'm tackling the other end of the process - publishing.

As many of you may know, my publisher for the Accidental Demon Slayer books has been having trouble distributing books and paying authors. Dorchester wasn't meeting its contractual obligations, so after thinking long and hard on it, I decided to take back the rights to my December release, The Last of the Demon Slayers.

I have to tell you, it's the strangest feeling to be back in control of my December book. As I was telling my agent, there are days when I can barely find my car keys. But I owed it to the book and my readers.

The Last of the Demon Slayers is a great addition to the series. I'm so stinking proud of how all of the elements came together on this one - Lizzie, the biker witches, Pirate, Flappy the dragon.

And I've gotten a mountain of email from readers wondering what is happening. Will the book come out? The answer is yes. The book needs to be out there. And since I have the files, we don't even have to wait until December.

I've turned everything over to Amazon and they are going to release The Last of the Demon Slayers on Friday, October 15. It will start as an ebook, and then go to paperback a few weeks later. We're still working on a date for that paperback release. But even if you don't have an e-reader, you can still get the book on Kindle for PC (what I use) or Kindle for Mac.

It's not posted yet, but it should be up there any time. I also have a new cover, since the publisher owns the old cover. It was done by Kim at Hot Damn Designs. That's her own medieval sword in the picture. I so want a sword like that. My old publisher has promised to take down the old listing from Amazon, and I hope it doesn't cause any confusion in the mean time.

Come Friday, Lizzie and the gang will be on their way to readers, full speed ahead on a new adventure. And that's what it's all about.